Twen­ty­five and lovin’ it

Our colum­nist is not about to let mid­dle age dampen her spirit of ad­ven­ture.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING -

’M 25 years old. I’ve been that age for the past 30 years. Ex­cept, some­one for­got to tell my body. So, my youth­ful en­thu­si­asm has to con­tend with a skeleton that creaks slightly, fail­ing eye­sight and a mem­ory that is … well, I for­get the word that best de­scribes my mem­ory, but I’ll let you know as soon as it comes back to me.

In my mind’s eye, which might also be de­te­ri­o­rat­ing slightly, I feel no dif­fer­ent from the way I did on my 25th birth­day. On that par­tic­u­lar day, the sun was shin­ing, my face was glow­ing, my eyes were shin­ing, my hair was cas­cad­ing and I was happy and op­ti­mistic and full of hope for my fu­ture. I even have a photo (which I have, un­for­tu­nately, mis­placed) to prove it.

When I speak to my chil­dren th­ese days, both of whom are in their 20s, I sel­dom feel like a mid­dle-aged par­ent. Sure, I still worry about their well-be­ing, but I gen­er­ally don’t play the mother card with them. I don’t ask them if they are eat­ing well or get­ting enough sleep. I don’t give them the whole de­press­ing lec­ture about the evils of il­licit drugs and al­co­hol abuse, and un­pro­tected sex, and the dan­ger of walk­ing down a dark al­ley on their own late at night. I also don’t tell them what they should be do­ing with their cho­sen ca­reers.

I’ve given them all that ad­vice a long, long time ago. And I’m sure their mem­o­ries are a whole lot bet­ter than mine and they can re­mem­ber ev­ery­thing I told them, es­pe­cially the bit about tak­ing care of their geri­atric mother when she is no longer ca­pa­ble of string­ing words to­gether in a co­her­ent man­ner.

None­the­less, I’m still their mother, and if I felt they were re­ally screw­ing up in some ma­jor way, I would tell them so.

My chil­dren talk to me about their work, the things they do in their free time, their friends and what they hope to do in the fu­ture. I sym­pa­thise with them when they talk about some of the mo­rons they are forced to work with, I get ex­cited for them when they talk about travel plans, and I feel happy when they tell me about their ful­fill­ing re­la­tion­ships, both pro­fes­sional and per­sonal.

When­ever I talk with them, I’m re­minded of my­self at that age. And that’s when I real- ise, all the more, that the 25-year-old me didn’t die all those years ago, she’s still alive and well and want­ing to come out to play.

I still want to do many of the things that I wanted to do at 25, but didn’t get round to do­ing be­cause of rea­sons out­side of my con­trol: mainly lack of money. Things like go­ing on an African sa­fari or trav­el­ling around South Amer­ica or float­ing on the Dead Sea while read­ing a book, all of which re­quire a level of funds that I’ve never had. But I’m still de­ter­mined to do them some­day – hope­fully be­fore I get too old to fully ap­pre­ci­ate them.

Ac­cord­ing to the sta­tis­tics, un­less I suc­cumb to a fatal disease or get knocked down by a bus, there is good pos­si­bil­ity that I will live to be 82 years old. This means that I have 236,520 hours left to live. I have 27 more birth­days left to cel­e­brate, 27 more Christ­mases to plan and 27 big hol­i­days to or­gan­ise. I could also po­ten­tially write 27 nov­els, which could be trans­lated into 27 dif­fer­ent lan­guages and be made into 27 dif­fer­ent movies, all of which could earn me in ex­cess of $27mil. With all of that money, I could float on the Dead Sea for a long, long time, read­ing nov­els writ­ten by other peo­ple.

What I need to do is take all that youth­ful en­thu­si­asm, get up off my bum and start do­ing things.

How­ever, there is one thing that my 55year-old self has to tell my in­ner 25-year-old: It’s great to visit ex­otic places, and have a sports car at your dis­posal, and have the time to learn how to paint a sun­set, but with the fi­nite time that you have left, you need to make sure that you do things that re­ally make you happy. Spend your time wisely and don’t go chas­ing af­ter things just be­cause oth­ers deem them ex­cit­ing and the “in thing” to do.

Oh, yes, and don’t waste pre­cious time hang­ing out with peo­ple who don’t re­ally give a @#$% about you.

Enough with the ad­vice. I’ve just looked at the clock, and I’ve only got 236,518 hours left. Time to get go­ing.

Check out Mary on Face­book at www. face­book.com/mary.sch­nei­der.writer. Reader re­sponse can be di­rected to star2@thes­tar.com. my.

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