Last Sunday I celebrated my milestone birthday together with the launch of my latest book The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon and my new website FQMom.com.
Turning fifty is really something. No matter what the media, youth-preserving products, some delusional mantra of “50 is the new 30!” say, fifty is really old. As I say, “That’s why GOLD rhymes with OLD!” 🙂 My older sister Jane once said, “Fifty is the time when you’re like a baby again because in the morning you do the baby exercises of ‘Close-Open-Close-Open’ to exercise your arthritic hands, and you do ‘Beautiful eyes’ because you have to blink a few times to induce moisture in your drying eyes!”
Maybe deep inside we feel younger than our biological age because our spirit is the same. In fact, it is now a more beautiful version of the self. It is just our body that ages and deteriorates.
Last Sunday our theme was gratitude, FQ Mom Grateful @50 and Kris De Guzman, my friend and “Social Media mommyger” advised me to deliver a “Ted Talk” that would give my guests a takeaway, an idea worth spreading. I was a bit hesitant because I thought I would just be enjoying the party, not giving a presentation. But with the help of another friend, ANC anchor and writer Salve Duplito, who hosted the show together with my precious men (my husband and three sons), everything turned out just right and I’m very thankful.
I wish to share that “Ted Talk” with you. Here’s the link FQ Mom Grateful @50 Talk.
Somehow, towards the end, I became a bit emotional and a cry baby. I’m including the text of the latter part of my talk (as I intended to deliver it) to make sure that you understand my message clearly.
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NEW PERSPECTIVE ON THANKSGIVING
I wish to end by sharing with you a new perspective about thanksgiving, about how to view our accomplishments and receive the good things that come our way. Bear with me a bit, because I am still in the process of mastering this. I’m still a work in progress.
You see I am of the belief that most of the time we get what we deserve. You work hard, you reap the rewards. You study hard, you get honors, you do your job well, you get promoted, you save and invest, you accumulate wealth and have a brighter future, you devote quantity and quality time raising your kids, you raise great kids. In fact, if you remember the old way of saying this line during the mass, “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” I would actually say, “Lord I know I am worthy to receive you… and so on.”
But as I got older, I began to realize that there is an even better way of looking at the blessings that come our way.
Maybe I should share with you how this enlightenment came about.
A couple of years ago, Marvin & I were talking about our blessings, specifically about our house. I was saying that I’m very thankful about the space especially in the garden where we have trees and we can also view the trees beyond our property, which is the park right across our house. Then he said, “Did you expect that you would have a house like this? Without batting an eyelash I said, “Yes of course, when I was a little girl I already knew I was gong to have airy space at home, big windows and doors. I wanted doors in the living and dining rooms that open to the garden. Sayang nga, the terrain of our property is such that our neighbor at the back is higher so it’s not practical to have doors so we installed really big windows that you can actually go in and out through them.” Then I asked him, “Bakit ikaw, hindi?” He answered, “Not as beautiful as this.”
And I can still remember the look in his eyes. They were dreamy and very content. I’m not saying that it’s not good to dream big (as in big doors & windows 🙂 ) and be very visual about your dreams. But at that moment, I felt that between the two us, it was Marvin who was actually happier and more thankful in his heart. And I realized it was because his sense of entitlement was toned down.
I know it’s good to know what we deserve, what we’re entitled to, so that we can maximize all our opportunities.
But somehow, if we play down the ‘I deserve, I’m entitled to,” maybe we will end up happier just like Marvin in this scenario. He is able to allow himself to be awed more about the blessings. And that’s what I want to share with you, especially to the highly driven, goal oriented people in this room. This is the attitude that I want to have when I receive my triumphs. I want to be awed more by the blessings that come my way by allowing humility to set in. This is essentially allowing GOD more into our life. Playing down the “I deserve” part is recognizing that the blessing comes from someone. It is a GIFT. And when we master this humility and always consider our triumphs as gifts, we become more GRATEFUL.
Imagine what the world would be if we all do this? It will be a world of happy people because it is impossible to be grateful and sad at the same time!
We should remember to teach this to our children so we do not raise a generation of entitled kids. I remember a story of a smart young man who committed suicide. He was in his 20s with a great job and among the things that they found in his farewell note was that he was unhappy about his bonus. He received P500,000 while his boss got P750,000. He was not happy because he felt he deserved more! And you know committing suicide is the worst thing that a child can do to his parents. How can the parents ever get rid of the guilt that they might have done something wrong in raising him?
Maybe if he just played done the “I deserve and I’m entitled to,” he wouldn’t have ended his life.
This is why I offer this new perspective to all of you. As we all get closer to being OLD, let’s remember to always add the G. G for GOD GIFT and GRATEFUL, the Attitude of Gratitude. When we put the G in getting old, no matter how aching and weary our physical bodies get, each passing day will still be as valuable as GOLD.
So now, allow me to express my sincerest gratitude to all of you who are here today. I know I don’t deserve your Sunday afternoon, but here you are celebrating my milestone birthday with me today. This FQ Mom is really very grateful @50. Maraming maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!
ANNOUNCEMENT: I wish to invite you to visit my new website www.FQMom.com. Here I share my thoughts on FQ, parenting, relationships, Behavioral Economics, interviews with different personalities and many more. You may also interact with me via Instagram and Twitter (The FQ Mom) and Facebook Page (FQ Mom).
Thanks for the wonderful messages of COL Financial Founder & Chairman Edward Lee, my sister Dada Fres Felix, my friends Isca Abaya and Bebet Corpuz, and of course my favorite Behavioral Economist and New York Times best selling author Dan Ariely for the surprise birthday message! Also to Jedd Lim of ThinkBIT.com.ph for the website of FQMom.com and the guest registration, Verna Marin, Yryn & Dennis who dolled me up, Arwiny.com the photographer, CM Videography, Pol Espanola for flying all the way from Iloilo, everyone who came, and the staff of Marco Polo Hotel. It’s amazing how the head waiter during my party was the same head waiter during my husband’s 50th birthday party three years ago in another hotel!
This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.