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Sunday, January 29, 2006

The quality of life

Life is too short. The average life expectancy should be about 77.6 according to this source. While tecnology should have made life longer than it was centuries ago, technology also continues to bring about new ways to shorten it. Weapons are far more powerful and accurate today than fifty years ago during the last world war. Imagine another world war happening today and we would see weapons eliminating nations till kingdom comes. We need not go far, though. In our own backyard, we suffer from outrageous pollution, enough to ruin our lungs or contaminate our food to cause us to be seriously ill.

At any rate, assuming that we live to a ripe old age of 80, I'd say life only begins to spin during our teens when we begin to sense some freedom to make our own decisions. The toddler years, while very important, were just for learning the basics like walking, speaking, eating properly, etc. Considering that we don't have too much recollections of that age, we can assume that those were seven to eight years away from quality life. Assuming further that you begin to suffer sickness like alzheimer's disease, the quality of life is already gone. What is life without knowing what's around you, who your relatives and friends are? It's like living in oblivion. This is just like my mother who just turned 87 years old. Sometimes I'd like to equate it to someone living in limbo serving time until the spirit is ripe for acceptance to heaven.

But this is not alzheimer's disease. There is something more sinister. I am talking about cancer, the big-C. I am distraught by news that a very good friend's fight with it is almost over. She had undergone a series of chemotherapy and while she seemed to have survived the first episode of her disease, the cancer cells mestastasized to her lungs. Chemotherapy did not work this time and so she had to try gene therapy. She texted me yesterday to tell me that that didn't work either. That was enough to cause grief that I have to vent it somewhere. She had been a very very close friend. I've known her for twenty years as we have started working together in the same school for practically the same time. We've shared stories, jokes, points-of- view and work together. She was like a twin sister to me for I am only a day older. She had this habit of bringing in lots of food but eat less and I, together with some other friends, end up eating it so that they don't go to waste. We have always encouraged her to eat more as she would just have a taste and stop. It's like she just wanted the company. I still can't believe why she would have to suffer this disease. She's very beautiful, rich and very kind. She sees everyone as basically good. She's not a snob and very generous with her friends. These are the things that make me sorry I am helpless in her fight. All I can do is pray for her and, as my friend Zharro said, submit that God knows what He is doing.

Having lost two friends to cancer already makes me feel very vulnerable. I became aware of my own mortality.

Life is too short. Death begins when we were born. C'est la vie. This is the reason why we have to be wary about what we do today. We don't know what tomorrow brings. We may be healthy today but that cannot be forever. The key to a happy life is moderation and clean living. Think about what you do today as it will have consequences on your life tomorrow.

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Blogger Rey A said...

Hello Tito Rolly. Just happened to pass by. Consider me a new kid on the blog, your blog that is. I'm sorry to hear about your friend. A good and kindly person from what I've read. We could always hope and pray for miracles. He works in mysterious ways. He giveth and taketh away.

1:26 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Rey Hi Rey. Welcome to my tiny spot in cyberspace. Yes, she is very kind. Please pray for her.

Do come back, okay?

3:23 PM  
Anonymous bayi said...

Life is a paradox. When you are young, you want to do many things but you don't have the means to do them. When you eventually have some savings to do the things you have always wanted to do since you were a kid, you are already too old to do them.

Life is a paradox. As you said, death begins at birth. Life is nothing but a period of consciousness between two points in time. I am being a cynic but does it make a difference?

Yes, it does. We can do all we can within our means to make the quality of our life meaningful and purposeful and this in turn raises the quality of the time that we are conscious (between birth and death). And it does not cover jsut what we eat to avoid the big C or whether we exercise for our health. It is a wholistic approach to life that covers spiritual, emotional nd physical needs. And for the rest of what we are unable to do, we leave it to the good Lord.

5:35 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Bayi Exactly!

1:17 PM  
Blogger BatJay said...

medyo frustrating ano. gusto mong gawin lahat ng pwede mong gawin, wala ka namang magawa kundi mag hope.

sana ay bumuti ang kaibigan mo bossing.

2:36 PM  
Blogger rolly said...

Batjay Sana nga, sir.

8:11 PM  
Blogger auee said...

Sasabihin ko sana "look on the bright side"... but i'm not sure it's appropriate.

At least alam mo you still have days & days to spend with her & create more memories for the future. It will be a lot sweeter, tama ba yun?

Your post me sad. Lalo ko tuloy naiisip ang retirement plan naming mag-asawa. Dapat we're fit enuff to enjoy the fruits of our labour -- as in sa pera & with our kid (or kids).

9:49 PM  
Blogger Dr. Emer said...

I think I heard something from one episode of Nip/Tuck that we begin dying the moment we are born. The only blessing is not knowing when it will happen.

I feel sorry for your friend. But let us leave everything to God. He knows what's best in these trying times.

6:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

magandang post ito, boss.

minsan ginawan ko ng paper yung assistant ko for her environmental science class. in the course of my research, may naenkwentro akong factual basis ng isang environmental author na nagsabing sa sobrang dependent natin sa plastic, unknowingly daw ay significant % ng ating intake ay may plastic component, so much so that we can consider plastic as part of man's basic food group. sagwa no?

- cbs

8:04 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

auee That's just it. Hindi man lang kami makadalaw kasi bawal. I think she's too frail. Kaya text na lang kami nakapag-uusap. She needs your prayers, too. Thanks.

Doc Emer NEver saw that episode of Nip and Tuck. For some reason or another, I didn't get to start watching the show but I know it's good.

Ganon na lang talaga. Leave everything to His will. I just hope she does not suffer too much, not even a little feeling of discomfort.

cbs I guess that is true. Sobra ang pollution sa bayan natin. Thanks for dropping by.

12:38 PM  
Blogger bing said...

hi, mr rolly, death would always seem unfair and depressing but the good news is it can be the beginning of another life which is eternal, so says the scriptures.

she is blessed to have you and her other friends around.

7:10 AM  
Anonymous bugsybee said...

Hi Tito Rolly. I wonder why in recent years, I have had more and more acquaintances dying of cancer (my own father died of cancer in 2000 and he fought one hell of a losing battle). On these occasions, my prayers are always of resignation and acceptance ("Thy will be done"). But on three other occasions when I learned of people committing suicide, I can't help but feel angry. Here we are trying our "bestest" (as one friend likes to say) to hold on to dear life while other people willingly take their lives away. No matter how hard I try, I just can not understand.
My prayers for your friend.

5:39 PM  
Blogger JMom said...

Sorry to hear about your friend, Rolly. She is lucky to have you for a friend. I like what you said in the last paragraph, we not only have to be wary of the things we do today, but we also need to enjoy living everyday. Life is too short.

"Our birth, our life, our death, all tied into a single package that we spend our time on this earth unwrapping." - Terry Brooks

11:16 PM  
Blogger zeero said...

hi po, i'm sorry to hear about your friend. i may not be religious, pero aalahanin ko po siya at ipagdadasal.

9:09 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

your friend is very lucky to have you by her side. i hope you both find peace.

your post is very insightful. life is short and we all live on borrowed time. carpe diem indeed. life is a gift and we need to make the most of it as i'm sure your friend has done.

5:39 AM  
Blogger miki said...

para po sa'kin, the time we spend on earth is like the toddler years you spoke of: "while very important, [is] just for learning the basics"... how to share what you have, how to listen to your friends, how to work with others. i read somewhere that life is like a rehearsal... tayo po yung actors, si God yung director. naturally, the play starts when God thinks it's time.

in any case, sir rolly, from what you've written, your friend learned her lessons well... si God na po bahala if He thinks she has a few more things to rehearse or if she's ready for the big production.

i'll pray for her too.

- miki (litao) :)

2:38 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

Sorry for the late response guys but I had a lot of things on my hands last week.

bing Yes, that is the only consolation we are holding on to.

bugsy Life is hard and complex. Mahirap saklawan ang saloobin ng isang tao. So, yes, suicide is deplorable but we also have to empathize with them. Hindi na tama ang takbo ng pag-iisip ng mga gumagawa nyan and we don't know what compelled them to do such a drastic thing.

JMom Well, said. Thanks.

zeero Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

kat Yes. I have been with her during happier times. A lot of memories...

miki Kamusta ka na? Parang kay Shakespeare no? Life is a stage and we are the actors. Help us pray for her.

12:02 PM  
Blogger jeeper said...

Napadpad lang dito... blog-hopping.

I read somewhere that life ex[ectancy of domesticated dogs abroad has increased by 25%. Ironic how we can't do the same with us humans.

My Lolo is 96 and got senile just 2 years ago. I think I will not be able to live like that.

I have an aunt who was diagnosed with cancer and died just a couple of months later.

I think death is as natural as birth. But with people we know, the feeling is hard to associate with nature. I lost a friend (or something like it) recently, age 23, and it made me contemplate about my own mortality. Tomorrow, I might be dead.

Wala lang.

1:45 PM  
Anonymous Allan Hizon said...


Saw your picture, and when I read your self-description, I was sure it was you.

Your friend with the big "C", is she a teacher? I may know her...

Medyo off-topic, but...
While I can't write much right now, I would just like you to know that you are one of the teachers I look up to a lot, and one who taught me a lot of things that I find useful from time to time. While I never considered myself artistic when it came to non-verbal arts, you made doing such art seem easy. And our BOTB sessions where always my favorite.

See you one of these days Sir Rolly! My youngest brother Mikko is still in 3rd Year HS at DLSZ and admires you as well.

Allan Hizon, batch '94

8:46 AM  
Blogger rolly said...

jeeper Welcome to my blog. You are lucky that you're lolo is still alive and only been senile two years ago. I never met any of my grandfather and my mother started to have alzheimer disease three years ago. She does not even know who I am and she's only in her late 80's.

Allan!!! It's a very nice surprise that you chanced (I am guessing you were just surfing around, weren't you?) and found this blog. Of course I remember the times when you were still in school. You must be very successful now. What with your very good track record. Yes, you're brother is in third year now. I suppose you know her. Sorry I can't reveal her name here but if you're interested, I can email it to you. She needs your prayers.

Thank you for the very kind words. You don't know how gratifying it is to hear your former students speak like that about you. i am deeply honored.

3:06 PM  

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Twenty years of teaching must sure amount to something. A new friend in cyberspace suggested I ought to have a journal by now. I agree.

Taken by my friend Arlene Lawson in her room at Century Park Sheraton in May, 2000.
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Jack of all trade, master of none. First a disclaimer. My students have discovered this blog and they might think that what I write is gospel truth. Worse is they might find an argument that they think they can use, for some reason or another, against their teachers. So, to set the record straight, it is NOT. As a matter of fact, I write and open it to feedback to get another view in the hope that somebody would tell me if I am wrong and reenforce my thinking if it is right. Not that I will accept anything thrown my way, though. Just so I can think about it some more and decide whether my original stance is right or definitely off tangent. So there. I hope that clarifies everything. Now, on to blogging.

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