The Wisdom of Manong

I have a friend who is already 82 years old. Oftentimes, I see him walking around with his dog. He’s always smiling every time I see him. One time I had a meaningful conversation with him.

“Manong, how are you?”

“Well, I’m still the same, a happy guy!”

“That’s what I like about you, manong! If you don’t mind, can you share to me the secret of your long healthy life?”

“Well, Mike, there’s no secret. Look at me. You just have to be happy all the time as much as you can.”

“Oh, yeah, of course. It shows! That’s it?”

“Well, being happy is I would say, contributes to more than 50% of your wellness. So if you say you’re happy but you continually smoke and drink, surely, someday, you get hit with sickness until you die. So if you say you’re happy but deep inside you, you continue to be worried and resentful towards others, then sooner or later, you get sick. What I’m saying is you have to take care both of your body and mind.”

“I get it, Manong. What about the foods you eat? Are you an organic vegetarian?”

“Don’t get me wrong. It’s good if you practice that. But if you’re very strict with your diet, making sure everything you consume is organic and vegetarian, but what if one day time will come when you’re already so hungry, but you can’t find anything that’s vegetarian and organic, would you just continue to be hungry even you feel so weak? You can get sick if that’s the case? Right?”

“Right. So are you saying, you eat anything so you don’t get hungry?”

“Of course! The secret is moderation and letting go.”

“So you have a secret then, manong!”

“But moderation is not a secret. All people know, we should eat and drink moderately, right?”

“Right. What do you mean by letting go? I guess this is your secret.”

“Well, you can say that. It just means, just let go of your worries. So if you’re able to eat a grilled steak in a party where you’re invited… Of course, it’s an insult to refuse an offer from the host to eat that well-prepared food. Just don’t think about the cholesterol. Just enjoy while eating but then again, in moderation. What I’m saying, your mind mostly dictates whether you’re just gonna be fine or not.”

“I see. What can I say? That’s a very meaningful wisdom you’ve told me, manong. Thank you.”

“So be happy but be sincere. You can’t fake happiness. You alone are the only one who know if you’re really happy or not. Eat pork and beef a little. Drink one bottle of beer. What’s important, you enjoy. You’re not denying yourself life’s simple happiness. Happiness is a state of mind. You create it. But you can’t create it if the outside forces affect you. You should not be affected. Worry is natural. What’s not natural is keeping it in your mind for long. You should not entertain worry. It’s the biggest enemy to happiness. Anger is natural. What’s not natural is keeping it for long. Let go. Forgive. Wish your enemies wellness. If you do, you’re actually wishing yourself wellness. So as you can see, Mike, the mind is very powerful. Don’t you ever underestimate it! It’s like the commander-in-chief of your life.”

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