Con­fes­sions of a

There’s plenty to look for­ward to for a se­nior who has tai­lored her life to en­joy the finest things.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Heart & Soul - By LINDA LIM

HOW in the world did I get to be 70 years old? How time flies! I cel­e­brated the seventh decade of my life a month ago. I had a birth­day lun­cheon with 40 of my friends, and the dress code was red at­tire, as it is my favourite colour. So, at the do, we made up a pretty pic­ture – a sea of vary­ing shades of red. We had a great time min­gling, up­dat­ing each other about our fam­i­lies, and mostly, just catch­ing up .

Later, I had an­other do, but this time, with the fam­ily. This too – cel­e­brated mostly with in-laws – was mean­ing­ful. Need­less to say, my chil­dren from abroad came back spe­cially to cel­e­brate with me.

It was presents ga­lore. How­ever, one spe­cial gift from my chil­dren, which took me by sur­prise, was a com­pi­la­tion of my ar­ti­cles to the press, all col­lated into a book with my baby pho­to­graphs in it, with the mes­sage “mummy, don’t ever stop writ­ing”.

They had ob­vi­ously snooped around and found my file of ar­ti­cles, and made it into a lim­ited edition book which they dis­trib­uted to fam­ily and close friends. That was such a beau­ti­ful ges­ture.

An­other spe­cial present was from my favourite daugh­ter-in-law (by the way, I only have one), who made me a key chain with three coins – one en­graved with the names of all my grand­daugh­ters, an­other with my birth date, and the fi­nal one with the mes­sage “We love you, Mama.” I have strung the coins and threaded them into a bracelet. I am joy­fully wear­ing it and proudly show­ing it off to my friends now!

Yes, my cup run­neth over. Ev­ery night be­fore I go to bed, and ev­ery morn­ing when I get up, I thank my Maker, God Almighty, for the good life He has blessed me with.

For a start, the love of my life and I cel­e­brated our 44th an­niver­sary this year. Sure, there were hic­cups in our mar­riage, and life was not a bed of roses. Thank­fully, my other half has his cronies to yarn with, and like­wise me. Friends are so im­por­tant. There were tri­als and tribu­la­tions, of course – mar­ried life is sel­dom smooth sail­ing af­ter all, but we sur­vived and fer­vently hope for more happy years to come in the twi­light years of our lives.

We have three lovely chil­dren, two mar­ried and an­other son still wait­ing for the right girl to come by, but I have de­cided not to worry about it be­cause I firmly be­lieve that God has his plans.

We have four gor­geous grand­daugh­ters (all grand­par­ents think their grand­chil­dren are gor­geous) rang­ing from three to 13 years old. They are an im­mense source of de­light. My other half and I have de­cided to spoil them as much as we can, and leave the par­ent­ing to their par­ents. We are merely grand­par­ents on duty.

Be­sides the usual vis­its we make and the time they spend with us dur­ing school hol­i­days, we rise to the oc­ca­sion to babysit them. When my daugh­ter needs a break, she goes with her hus­band on his busi­ness trips, so hubby and I take charge of her chil­dren. We have a good time bond­ing with the grand­chil­dren, in­dulging in their whims and fan­cies, and al­though ap­pear­ing strict, we tend to dance to their tunes.

A month ago, we were abroad in Eng­land for six weeks, help­ing babysit the three-yearold grand­daugh­ter as my son was busy at­tend­ing a se­ries of courses. It was the long­est visit ever, but well worth it, es­pe­cially when my lit­tle Olivia told me that she wanted us to stay with her for­ever and ever! What a beau­ti­ful, heart­felt mes­sage from the mouth of a child!

And how does a sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian while her days away?

There is house­work to at­tend to, though a part-time maid comes in once a week to do the clean­ing. The rest I man­age with as­sis­tance from my other half. My plan is to de-clut­ter, but I never seem to find the time to do it.

I do a bit of gar­den­ing, too, and last week, reaped the fruits of my labour with a huge bunch of sweet ba­nanas. My pas­sion fruit plants have 20 fruits, which I can’t wait to see ripen.

There are ac­tiv­i­ties with cronies, as well, twice a week of so­cial golf­ing, cul­mi­nat­ing in break­fast at var­i­ous places. Three times a week I do qi qong. We start at 7.15am and con­clude at 8.30am, af­ter which we yum cha at our usual haunts, and maybe do our mar­ket­ing af­ter that. At our break­fast ses­sions, our con­ver­sa­tions range from hus­bands and chil­dren, to how to treat ail­ments, and where to get the best bar­gains for things!

This sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian has some “sins”, truth be told. Van­ity is her mid­dle name. She in­dulges in fa­cials, sup­pos­edly meant to iron out the wrin­kles which she knows will be there to stay, and vis­its the hair­dresser to en­sure her hair is black and coif­fured. Trips to the man­i­curist for spe­cial occasions and shop­ping for clothes and shoes are high on the to-do list, too. She has a sup­ple­ment list com­pris­ing vi­ta­mins and herbs to im­prove her health. And the lux­ury of a masseuse to mas­sage all the pur­ported aches and pains away!

Once a week, I do vol­un­teer work at a cen­tre for young adults with learn­ing dis­abil­i­ties. I put my teach­ing skills to use and ed­u­cate them in eti­quette and lan­guage, to pre­pare them for the work­ing world. I am happy to say that, to date, many of our young adults are gain­fully em­ployed in fast food cen­tres and su­per­mar­kets. Yes, this cen­tre has done won­ders to help and train th­ese young adults to pre­pare them for work life.

But be­ing 70 years old is not a life with­out prob­lems. There are me­mory lapses, known as se­nior mo­ments. I once hunted high and low for my read­ing glasses, only to be told that they were perched on my fore­head! I can­not re­mem­ber the times I mis­placed my phone ... and that list is end­less.

Health-wise, I am still nurs­ing a frozen shoul­der, and two months ago, a trig­ger fin­ger, and last month, a bad bout of ver­tigo! There are aches and pains to con­tend with, too. And woe be­tide when I catch the flu or cough. It takes an eter­nity to get bet­ter!

But com­plain, I will not. There is so much to live for, and so many things on my bucket list to realise. My hus­band and I travel a bit, and we are look­ing for­ward to vis­it­ing Luang Pra­bang in Laos next month. Then, in De­cem­ber, my son is tak­ing us to Syd­ney to usher in 2018 at the fa­mous Syd­ney har­bour, re­plete with a fire­works dis­play. Who could ask for more?

Yes, I am a sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian and look­ing for­ward to be an oc­to­ge­nar­ian!

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