Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Life Begins at Retirement

Life Begins at Retirement
Retirement is a journey, not a destination. It only means that it is time for a new adventure.  Adventure in the golden years of life
 By Ms Cecilia R Rotor, CPA, MBA, CESO VI
I believe this is what makes life wonderful after retirement. And on looking back, I found some reasons a person spends her most precious years of life with a boss, who in my case is the National Food Authority.  

Here at NFA , I found the true application of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  I aspired in my own capacity to be a good student of this great thought.  For NFA is the acronym of the principles of Maslow’s Concept:  man’s basic survival Need is Food; man’s basic social need is Family (the NFA family); and man’s highest need is Actualization – actualization of NFA’s vision and mission.

NFA is very important indeed! In fact, I learned that no country - big and small, 

industrialized and developing - is without an NFA, or its equivalence or counterpart. 
 Author with her granddaughter, Mackie.
I say, NFA is a universal organization. It is said in the Universal Prayer as well, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  (Us refers to all, irrespective of race, age, status, belief, ideology; it is the word us with reference to adequacy of food that unites mankind.)

NFA is my alma mater now, and I am proud to be one. It is bigger than my own, in college and in the graduate school, for I am now among thousands who once served the organization, and countless number of people whom it served - and continues to serve. 

It is my alma mater for four decades and two years, subtly saying 42 years of continuous service, the longest “schooling” until I was awarded the “diploma of retirement.”

The concept of alumna of NFA is, “Once an NFAian, always a NFAian.” And every time I happen to meet a co-alumna or co- alumnus, the world spontaneously brightens up, reversing the hands of time, and re-creating many wonderful scenarios that make memories fresh and alive.

Life after NFA is beautiful.  It is another stage of life which I am beginning to enjoy as a grandmother. Retirement is out of the dictionary when you are babysitter, teacher, housekeeper, playmate, rolled into one.

NFA taught many things to prepare me to be a “wonderful and loving Lola,” borrowing the words of Mackie my eldest granddaughter.

Happiness I realize is compensating for the limited time and presence I had with my family while I was with NFA. But it is NFA that made me realize that happiness is not truly your own alone.” It is one commodity that, if you divide and distribute it, will multiply.” It is boundless, it is eternal; it defies any mathematical law.  It is man’s greatest glory on earth. 
It is at NFA where I tried to study and understand issues considered to be sensitive and controversial, such as the term “subsidy.” As an accountant I saw a financial picture inclined towards social goals and objectives of stabilizing the industry to prevent hunger and its consequences; to pursue the idea of attaining self-sufficiency, while aiming at sustainable productivity. Meanwhile huge importation is inevitable year in and out. 

Yet, just by substantially reducing postharvest loss alone, we would be less dependent on importation. And, by increasing yield even only on the level of world’s average we would regain our status as rice exporter in the seventies.  Innovative technology, like most rice exporting countries, would entail less cost to produce, and give more income -  beginning on the farm, through postharvest, to product diversification, which generates equitable value added advantage to the industry.  

And these are the very reasons why NFA should and must exist, to lead its various stakeholders. These are the challenges that it must continue to face with greater resolve. It is my urgent wish that this noble task be pursued vigorously and unrelentingly. NFA’s triumph shall also be ours as alumni.  

As an alumna to her alma mater, I shall treasure many valuable memories since its early days as NGA in 1971, just as others who have passed under its arch.

Perhaps NFA may remember its alumni, too. I know of a good number of alumni or former NFAians who have distinctly proven themselves in various fields – in the academe, business, NGOs, and in various careers, here and abroad. Maybe NFA would hold a homecoming-conference with them for two reasons, for them to pay respects, at the same time, share insights, ideas, and experiences. Yes, as I know them, there is a second life after NFA.  And thanks to NFA for making it so.   

There is a saying by John F Kennedy (adopted from original adage by our own national hero Jose Rizal), “Ask not what America can do for you, but what you can do for America.”   

Analogously I ask myself. “What have I done for NFA, and what has NFA done for me?” 

Allow me to count the ways that I know of:

·         It is at NFA where my career blossomed from accountant to director.
·         It is at NFA that I was able to obtain an MBA and CESO, on top of my CPA.
·         It is at NFA where I grew gray hairs old folks say is a sign of wisdom and counsel.
·         It is with NFA I learned to hurdle obstacles generally attendant to public service.
·         It is with NFA I tried my best to set a standard of a role model for my staff and colleagues in government.
·         It is at NFA where I found personal happiness, and comfort in the dark hours.  
·         It is at NFA where I saw action, and fought in the battlefield, so to speak. 
·         It is with NFA I helped steer the boat toward its goal and mission.  
·         It is NFA that has deepened my nationalistic fervor, and respect for our deserving  national leaders and the pioneers who made NFA what it is today – with special mention of the late Administrator Jesus T. Tanchanco.     

Lastly, but not the least, It is at NFA where I found a life partner and together built a happy family, with an outlook as bright as ever. ~

*Response to a tribute given by the members of the Management Committee of the National Food Authority, August 8, 2016

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