Friday, June 28, 2019


I turned 71 today - 28 June, 2019. 

When each birthday comes around, we get well-meaning reminders of how quickly the years have rolled by. It's not just the number of big and small candles that announce our age on the celebratory cake, but also the family members that gather around us for the all-important customary birthday photos. Our adult children and our grandchildren are yet another reminder of our age and of how fast time flies.

My elder daughter celebrated her 50th milestone a month ago. My younger daughter has another two years to reach that same milestone. My grandson will be 19 in August, followed by my three granddaughters at 16, 15 and 13. My youngest grandchild is 5. 

I am reminded of the lyrics from the song 'Sunrise, Sunset' from the movie 'Fiddler on the Roof'. 

Births, weddings and deaths are all part and parcel of life. As we live, so shall we leave - hopefully surrounded by people we love and who love us. 

Let's be proud of our age, whether we are 50 or 80. Never mind if society thinks we are past our prime and over the hill. It's more important what we think of ourselves. If we think we are 'useless', 'unproductive' and a 'burden' to the family and society, then we are. Time for a mindset change. 

I can never understand why women in particular fear this stigma of ageing. Why are they so defensive about disclosing their age? It's funny how those in their 40s and 50s want to keep their age a secret, and those in their 60s want you to guess their age. But once they have reached 70 and beyond, they wear their age with pride like a badge of honour. They will voluntarily tell you their age. And why not? After all, old age is a privilege denied to many. It is a mark of having survived all the ups and downs of life. 

Growing old is natural and inevitable. So why fight it or try to reverse it? That would be like trying to stem the tide. We should look at our wrinkles as life-lines of experience, and our greying hair as threads of wisdom.

Let's not waste precious time wishing we could turn back the clock. Let's not fill our days with regrets, of things we could have done but didn't. Worse, let's not get stuck in that negative mindset with the all-too-familiar refrains of “Old already. Cannot study anymore. Cannot travel anymore. Cannot dance anymore. Cannot chew anymore. Cannot hear well anymore. Cannot wear bright colours anymore. Cannot enjoy romance anymore....” Aiyoh!

And we wonder why young people see us as decrepit old fogies ready to crumble into dust or ashes any minute. That’s how many of us see ourselves too. Is that why we avoid looking at the mirror unless we have our make-up on? A smile works much better than cosmetics - it lifts up our face instantly and pushes back the years.

No need for expensive botox, hair treatment or facelifts. Throw away those anti-ageing, anti-wrinkles cream. Invest in joy, love, forgiveness, gratitude. Eat sensibly. Exercise regularly. Nourish our skin with moisturizers. Smile often. Have a hearty laugh every now and then. Make positive words a part of our daily vocabulary. Think good thoughts. 

Add fun, friends, and fantasy to our lives. Spice it up with a dash of colour and romance. Dance in the rain, sing in the sunshine, enjoy the outdoors, see the world through the eyes of a child eager to discover and learn once more.

We can't stop growing old, but we don't have to BE old. We need to think outside THAT dreaded box or we'll be six feet under sooner than we want.

I can never understand folks who say they don't want to live too long and be a burden to their children. Why not prepare for a happy old age and make it happen? Surely we want to be around to see our grandchildren graduate, get married and start a family? Or simply just be around to see them go through life as we have done before them? And if they need our counsel, we'll be there to provide it. 

As for me, I hope to live to 100 in good health, God willing. Here's a toast to myself - to many more happy birthdays to come. 

(Above photo: The original words were 'My Last Portrait' but I changed it to 'My Best Portrait'. The photo was taken by a photographer who specialises in funeral portraits. He had a charity booth at the Death Festival organised by Xiao En in November 2018.)


Pak Idrus said...

Happy Birthday young lady. Best of health. Gorgeous as ever. It was through blogging that we got to know each other and met. Take care.

seniorsaloud said...

Thanks, Pak Idrus. Bloggers can become good friends through sharing their blogs.

Unknown said...

Belated happy birthday to you, Lily! You chose not to color your hair but you are greying so beautifully!
Cheers from Jln Rahmat BP neighbour.

seniorsaloud said...

Thank you for the kind comment, my BP neighbour.