By Alma Anonas-Carpio
In a world where aging is feared and held off for as long as possible, it is refreshing and heartening to see a book that tells the stories of our elderly. We present to you “Finding the Sun,” a sweet and slim hardcover written by the members of the Sunshine Place recreation center for senior citizens in Makati City.
Growing old does not have to mean becoming invisible or irrelevant to the fast-changing world—and this book gets that message across loud and clear. You read stories about the Sunshine Place members who still engage in sports, dance, play music, paint and share what they have learned over their lives, a formidable set of tales that carry much wisdom and joy if we listen well.
There, too, are the stories of the younger ones, the center’s volunteers and staff who give their time, energy and love so that Sunshine Place’s elderly denizens get the best care while they are there.
Through “Finding the Sun” we have a sampling of just how we can create a community around our elderly in the same way we create communities around our younglings. Every human is deserving of care and love and every human, young or old, needs to be part of a community that cares.
The essays written by the center’s members, volunteers and staff, are crisp and wonderful. They balance brevity with storytelling in that collected and dignified way that younger writers just starting out can only dream of achieving. Experience, as they say, will always show.
The photographs are a gorgeous mélange of old black and white and instamatic snaps, as well as recent shots of the people whose work appears in the book. None of the snaps looks out of place and you’d think you opened up a print version of Instagram—very current, very interactive, really. That isn’t something you see much of in print and it is lovely that a book about senior citizens and by senior citizens actually has this very au courant feel to it.
“Finding the Sun” shows us with the sweet, short pieces it collates, that humans bloom at any age, given an environment that encourages them to keep polishing and sharing their skills and talents.
With a beautifully balanced set of stories and photos, this little book sends out some very strong messages about the elderly: They are as vital in their post-retirement decades as they were in their youth. They are people who have, over the course of their lives, accumulated so much they can give to a community—wisdom, skills, experience, stories and love. They lived full lives and continue to do so.
Perhaps the strongest messages this book carries are these: You can find joy at any age. All you need to do is be open to it and welcome it. You can give joy at any age. All you need to do is offer it with an open heart. The medium and the message are both powerful and clear and “Finding the Sun” is a book that I am happy to give pride of place on my shelves.
Welcome to Sunshine Place’s “Finding the Sun.” Come, walk in the light of these seniors’ thousand splendid suns.