Hav­ing the time of our lives

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SENIOR - By ALICE FER­NAN­DEZ

LIFE at the mo­ment couldn’t be much bet­ter. I am at a lovely place spir­i­tu­ally, phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally. Grow­ing older can be a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially since my angst and fears have dis­si­pated com­pletely with my fas­ci­na­tion for liv­ing in the mo­ment.

I have found that when we quit wor­ry­ing about how ev­ery­thing is go­ing to turn out, and live one day at a time, we can be truly con­tented with life.

When it comes to age­ing beau­ti­fully, noth­ing is more po­tent than fill­ing our lives with what­ever it is that brings us bliss. Hav­ing good re­la­tion­ships with fam­ily and friends is an added joy. Through­out life, friend­ships pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for love and sup­port. How cold and hard life would be with­out the warmth of fam­ily and good friends.

We do a lot of grow­ing through our fe­male friends, so it is im­por­tant to have close friends. A good friend lis­tens and en­cour­ages us. Hav­ing fun with friends helps off­set life’s pres­sures. Life can be ter­ri­bly lonely with­out the emo­tional and in­tel­lec­tual stim­u­la­tion of friends. Keep­ing a friend­ship alive can be test­ing but it is of­ten the most en­dur­ing and trea­sured re­la­tion­ship a woman can have. I am blessed to have a lov­ing and sup­port­ive fam­ily, and a bunch of good friends I can al­ways count on.

Ev­ery age should be cel­e­brated, but it takes self- es­teem and self- con­fi­dence, and you won’t find any of that in a cos­metic jar. How­ever old I am, I want to feel good about how I look; it’s part of my self- es­teem. Like most women, I’ve spent time wor­ry­ing about my looks, es­pe­cially when I was in my late 30s.

I’ve al­ways taken good care of my skin, so I was a lit­tle disap- pointed to see the fine lines, wrinkles, sunspots and dis­coloura­tion when I was in my late 40s. Thank good­ness for the ad­vance­ments in skin­care prod­ucts and cos­metic treat­ments which can take care of such mal­adies.

Re­mem­ber you are pretty lovely just as you are. There’s beauty in your pos­i­tive at­ti­tude and out­look to­wards life; own it and you trans­form what oth­ers see when they look at you.

With age we re­alise that this body of ours needs proper care and at­ten­tion if it is to serve us well into our twi­light years. I have since learnt the art of joy­ful liv­ing: we have to nour­ish your mind, body and soul if we want to age gracefully.

Our bod­ies are amaz­ing works of our Cre­ator. We can ne­glect it for years but once we start cul­ti­vat­ing a healthy life­style, our bod­ies be­gin to heal and start func­tion­ing beau­ti­fully.

I am a risk averse per­son, so any form of sport that is re­motely gru­elling is a no- no for me. I find joy in walk­ing in­stead. Walk­ing at the break of dawn has brought me great plea­sure. The cool, re­fresh­ing air en­er­gises my body and the en­dor­phin rush puts me in a good mood. Af­ter a good walk I feel fo­cused, ex­hil­a­rated, and ready to take on the day.

I have come to re­alise that good health is the great­est gift in life. Un­til a few years ago, my medicine cab­i­net con­tained only Panadol. Now I take five pills ev­ery morn­ing to ward off im­pend­ing ail­ments and my friends dis­cuss fish oil and glu­cosamine the way they used to dis­cuss con­tra­cep­tives and PMS not so long ago.

It was mu­sic to my ears when I heard there are ways to de- age my brain be­cause th­ese days I catch my­self talk­ing about whatchamacal­lits and that thingy and go­ing through myr­iad names be­fore land­ing on the right one. Call­ing them se­nior mo­ments and jok­ing about them isn’t funny when im­por­tant let­ters get mis­placed or dis­ap­pear com­pletely, keys van­ish and cut­lery dwin­dle as they are ab­sent- mind­edly thrown into the trash bin with the left­overs.

Sci­en­tists now tell us that we can grow the area of our brain called the hip­pocam­pus which has a huge ef­fect on mem­ory and brain power. It is said that the more you learn and mem­o­rise, the more neu­ral con­nec­tions are cre­ated and strength­ened in your brain, which in turn helps boost your abil­ity to reg­is­ter and re­trieve new in­for­ma­tion.

So I’ve de­cided to stop the in­evitable slip into se­nil­ity by do­ing cross­word puz­zles, play­ing Su­doku and spell­ing names back­wards be­sides chow­ing down brain- friendly foods like leafy green veg­eta­bles, fish, co­conut oil and whole grains as they are load- ed with nu­tri­ents that pro­tect brain cells.

A friend re­cently told me that an African sa­fari was on her bucket list. When­ever friends de­scribe their next big ad­ven­ture, I make men­tal notes about what hap­pens to peo­ple who go look­ing for trou­ble. Call me a wimp but I have ab­so­lutely no de­sire to go kayak­ing in the Ama­zon River, only to end up as fod­der for red- bel­lied pi­ra­nhas.

White- wa­ter raft­ing in Ore­gon ( the United States)? No, thank you. Hot air bal­loon­ing over Uluru ( Aus­tralia)? I’ve seen its mag­nif­i­cence from a plane win­dow and that was awe­some enough. I don’t want to be plum­met­ing from the sky en­veloped in what’s left of the burn­ing bal­loon only to be torn apart by flesh- eat­ing din­goes below.

Hol­i­days for me are very laid­back affairs. A leisurely two- week stay in a lovely cot­tage in Provence ( France), in­dulging in good food, down­ing ex­cel­lent wines and ex­plor­ing the coun­try­side on walk­a­bouts with some good shop­ping thrown in is ad­ven­ture enough for me.

We are at a time in our lives when there are as many end­ings as there are be­gin­nings. Some of the end­ings we knew would come, just not so fast. End­ings sting more now. I’ve at­tended a num­ber of fu­ner­als in the past few years, in­clud­ing my par­ents’ and some dear friends. It is hard to let go. We have loved them for a long time and when they die, our brain looks for that fa­mil­iar love and we ache with­out it. Th­ese are some of the losses we have to face. Life goes on and we heal even­tu­ally.

Th­ese pass­ings have brought my mor­tal­ity to the fore­front. I can only pray that it will be an easy pas­sage to the other side. And un­til that time comes, I’ll con­tinue to en­joy the party on this side.

We can con­tinue to lead ac­tive, pro­duc­tive lives even in our twi­light years. — Reuters

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