Recently, I met up with a group of ex-classmates. And as the 4 old chaps sat chatting at the open air sarabat stall in swanky Orchard Road*, quite a contrast between old and new Singapore, I noticed that all around, in contrast to us, were young men and women in their 20s and 30s enjoying dinner as we were having our supper.
We talked about anything that came to mind, no stress, no pressure…but the chat inevitably drifted to the good o’days, which means more than 40 years ago. Yes, it was that long ago. Intermittently, we talked about who was going to celebrate their 60th birthday first. Yes, in a couple of years, all of us will be in the big six-O. One would think that all such talk would be depressing but I was pleasantly surprised that the 4 of us were really quite upbeat as we joked about getting our senior citizens’ card with concessions on public transportation, at the cinema – and the pioneer generation package (although we would not be getting it, we were happy for those who would http://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/budget_2014/pgp.aspx).
It got me thinking. Maybe there are some nice things about growing old.
Well, maybe there are. So I came up with 5 reasons why aging may not be so bad. I was hoping that my attempt to create a positive checklist would lift my spirits when those aging blues start to bug me again.
Here they are:
#1 – The Concessions
On the most basic level, one of the things which I look forward to is getting concessions. These range from senior citizens’ concession on public transportation (60 years old and above) to cheaper cinema tickets (55 years and above). Other concessions are also available. (http://www.agelessonline.net/benefits/)
#2 – The Experiences
I’ve had good and bad experiences, both of which, in retrospect, I am grateful for. The good comes from the good times I’ve had and these memories are like emotional bank accounts which I can draw from when the going gets tough. The bad creates the type of resilience that has made me tougher. I guess this is, perhaps, one of the ironies of life…what hasn’t killed me has made me stronger.
And that is why I often fondly call myself the collector and curator of memories.
#3 – The Maturity
I’ve sometimes ask myself whether I would like to go through my younger days again. Strangely speaking, my answer is ‘no’. I’ve asked myself ‘why not’ before. I mean why wouldn’t I want the energy level and the strength of my younger days; why wouldn’t I want the health that I used to have without the chronic illnesses that bug me all the time? Well, yes, I would want my physical youth but I won’t want to go through the exhausting search for personal identity and the struggle for self-acceptance again.
#4 – The Defense
I used to be very bothered by what others say about me. Not that I no longer am. But somehow, maturity has given me the ability and confidence to overcome the venom in people’s tongue more easily. I find myself saying, go fly a kite**, to hurtful people more often nowadays.
#5 – The Sexy
You would be pleasantly surprised to find that maturity is something many find sexy. Of course, there will always be many who find taut skin and youthful face irresistible. However, there are many who can look beyond the outward and find themselves drawn to inner beauty, the depth of character and the confidence of maturity. For the single mature gay men, who despair, because they perceive the market to be only for fresh meat, the good news is that there is a market for vintage wine too.
Well, these are only my opinions at this present moment of time when I am writing. It doesn’t represent others’ views and experience, not even my own at another point in time. But what, I hope, will not change is ‘carpe diem’….I must remember to always ‘seize the day’ and enjoy each one as much as I can.
*Orchard Road is downtown Singapore, popular for upmarket shopping and dining
**rude expression to tell annoying people to go away and leave one alone.