Friday, 30 May 2014

Old Is Gold: Unrattled by reality

Far from sweet: Growing old is no bowl of cherries, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be gung-ho about it.

Far from sweet: Growing old is no bowl of cherries, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be gung-ho about it.

With age comes a sense of liberation and confidence which the young may not understand.

AS FAR as ageing disgracefully is concerned, I am guilty as charged. I am not giving up on the colour red. Red is a defining colour and it exudes energy. I love perky pink toenails and vibrant red slippers. I do not baulk at ageing – it is ineluctable!

I have noticed sales assistants flinching when I ask for the red pair instead of the calming shade of black. I am of the cohort who live forever young at heart. Wrinkles? They are merely battle scars to show that I have lived.

I know that only a fraction of my generation would still wear heels, put on nail polish and blue eyeshadow. But I am only acting my age – 58 is not too late! Ah, that’s me told forthright and bold.

Magazines and advertising do hurl shame and disgust at baby boomers trying to recover their past glory. What’s the fuss? Feeling good, being fulfilling and staying desirable longer, is every woman’s right to living life to the full. As we zoom past 50, having that Botox injection may be our last indulgence.

Some ladies prefer to simply fade into the background once they reach menopausal age. Not this one, though. To me, 60 is nifty, 70 is felicity, and I just might die young at 80.

Advertising companies are savvy enough to target the massive retirees. There is huge business in anti-ageing cream, lifting serums, cosmetic surgery and vagina reconstruction. The bloom of dewy flesh may start to wither, but this old heart will not give up without a fight, even as gravity teases and skin creases. Call it my last shout before I purchase that shady plot of land in the Christian cemetery.

Sometimes your loved ones are the greatest reminders of your age. There I am, wearing my new satin blouse that has rich flounces at the waist and Daughter No.2 glides into the room and says, “Oh, mum, you’re so brave.”

Now I do not see anything heroic about wearing red. She is being decidedly annoying so I ask her to go flaunt her perky derriere to Jennifer Lopez while I feel comfortable with my “overused seat”.

Well, being positive and gung-ho about life is one thing, but recognising our own mortality is reality. You cannot stop the march of time. Growing old is not a choice. You can only do so much to delay the onslaught of ageing. Menopause sets in, no matter what. Bat wings, crow’s feet and age spots appear by your fifth decade of living. And whether you like it or not, hair loses its lustre, skin becomes thin, memory fails and eye bags come unbidden. Discussions on bowel movement creep into the conversation when the elderly get together.

However, acceptance of our own mortality does make a difference on how we live out our last years. Nothing is so bad as not to have any good in it. And so it is with growing old. With age, comes a sort of liberation and confidence that not many young people get to acquire.

Perhaps we have used up our quota of making mistakes in our youth and now get to live in a more sensible and meaningful manner. Our aerials are still up to receive any good news or heart-warming stories that happen in our corner of the world.

No amount of books can fully inform or prepare you for what is to come. Every life needs to be lived out and experienced in its own unique way. The wisdom which people speak of, may not come with age. Sometimes age comes alone.

Getting old is no bowl of cherries. Think of the indignities and dependency that old age brings. If you can die with your mental faculties still intact, you are surely blessed, even if this casing called the “body” disintegrates into folds and creaky bones.

As I write this, I am wearing my eldest daughter’s hand-me-downs. Life has come full circle. I love her clothes. She has good taste. Wearing her clothes makes me feel young. Told you I am incorrigible! That is me, which ever way, and life goes on ...

  • Old is gold is a platform for readers aged 55 and above to share their wealth of experience and take on life. E-mail star2@thestar.com.my. Published contributions will be paid, so please include your full name, IC number, address and phone number.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle , Lifestyle , mary lim , ageing


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