Yes! In a couple of weeks I’ll be turning 50. Today, I am reminiscing a childhood filled with blessings and good memories in a country once ranked as the happiest land on earth: Puerto Rico. Surrounded by the wild and simple living, values were still cherished and family was the backbone of everyday living. I certainly enjoyed every minute of it without the fanciness and devices of these days.
Back then car seats were unknown. I would travel front seat on my mother’s lap feeling the ocean breeze on my face. Raised in a sugar cane factory, I would wake up with the roosters searching for the first morning harvest, sucking on that sugar cane like it was the elixir of gods. My immune system developed by walking barefooted over moist soil populated by worms and the excrement of hens and ducks, the sole owners of the yard. Way before fancy fast food breakfasts, mine was fresh, warm, and unsterilized milk straight from the cow’s udder. Helmets and knee pads were never used to ride my bike. I did fall many times and stood back up with the same grace. Climbing the mango trees was my favorite pastime even knowing that if I was to be caught I would have to spend some time in the shower; a green room where spiders and scorpions used to get together at times. After all my daily adventures, when thirst attacked the best water was that of the closest hose.
Cell phones and computers were still in the thoughts of the makers so I developed the good habit of writing letters and long collections of personal journals. Words were the vehicle to reach out to others and have a private dialogue with myself. There were no flash drives with 3 or 50 megabytes to save my thoughts but blank pages always kept my memories. Video games had not arrived to keep us in isolation. The best games were those created with the mind, outdoors under the burning Caribbean sun and with friends, new and old. Every game, every gathering was a neighborhood affair of sharing and caring.
Almost fifty years later I am wondering how I survived those years without the extreme safety measures, prefabricated vitamins and antioxidants, bottled water, diet frenzy, and the technology many can’t live without these days. I did and still remember those days as the best of that stage of my life, when everything was fresh, people truly cared for each other, and friends were forever. I hope my grandchildren will have something valuable and meaningful to save in their fancy gadgets but most important, I hope they survive the same way I did understanding the true meaning of life and what really matters.
"Life is a game-play it. Life is a challenge-meet it. Life is a dream-realize it. Life is love- enjoy it. ~ Sai Baba~