Tuesday, December 8, 2009


It saddens me whenever I hear of someone I know having health problems or going through depression. The eternal optimist in me refuses to accept that as we age, our physical and mental health deteriorate. Sure, we slow down and we see more lines on our face and more folds on our body, but that doesn't mean that we have to sit and watch passively as life goes by, or withdraw from life altogether. Perhaps it is because I have had the good fortune of meeting people who are well into their 80s and 90s, and who are enjoying life. For them, there is still so much to look forward to.

I am reminded again of Teresa Hsu, Singapore's most celebrated supercentenarian. At 112, she is the oldest person I have met. Teresa is, without doubt, my model for ageing gracefully. I first met her in October 2008 at a privately-organized talk where she was the guest speaker. My daughter, Belle, and I were so inspired by Teresa that we have maintained contact with her to this day.

Like a little girl flying her first kite. What a picture of pure joy! (Photo: Belle)

I am sharing some photos of Teresa here to give some hope and cheer to those of my friends who feel that there is less to be joyful about as age encroaches. Like a marathon runner, we should look at every milestone as an achievement, whether it's the 80th, 90th or 100th milestone. Don't think of 78 as waiting at death's door. The race might still be far from over for you.

Supercentenarian Teresa was thrilled to accept my daughter's invitation to attend Tony Robbins' "Unleash the Power Within" seminar. Tony was honoured to meet Teresa. (Photo: Belle)

Left: Visiting Teresa at her home in Singapore. You can see she's very playful and loves a good laugh. Right: Teresa in our hotel room to catch a bird's eye view of the Formula One night race.

Teresa's home library. She loves books and reads without the aid of glasses. Here she's browsing through Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now". (Photo: Belle)

I'm always on the lookout for senior citizens who inspire us to live life with joy and purpose. That is one reason why I started the "Seniors in the News" column in my blog. There are lessons we can learn from each and every one of these remarkable seniors. The common thread that runs through all of them is they have a passion that keeps them going. They are all ordinary people like you and me. If they can do it, so can we. We must find that JOIE DE VIVRE. Perhaps this is the key to longevity.

(More about Teresa's life story at Meet the Angel of Compassion)

1 comment:

CheaHSan said...

Age is mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. Live life to the fullest. Thanks for the inspiration.