16 going on 17... now 60 going on 70

Ageing gracefully: Looks may fade with age, but they cannot deny the many blessings in life.

REMEMBER the catchy song entitled, Sixteen Going On Seventeen in the evergreen movie The Sound Of Music? I remember it so vividly. I was so mesmerised by it and each time I watched that movie, I was transported mentally to the gazebo scene. Yes, that was years and years ago when I was "16 going on to 17... innocent as a rose, fellows I meet, will say that I'm sweet ..."

Haha! Back to the present time. Oh no! I am now 60 going into 70! Time really flies! I am no more that "sweet young thing" but a grandma who has just celebrated her 60th birthday. The only person who still says that I am sweet is my husband of 37 years. Oh, before you actually start thinking that the old man has no sense of beauty, let me tell you that he only calls me a "sweetie" when I do something special for him.

Like the wicked stepmother in Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs who looked into the mirror each time to know the status of her beauty, I do it too, but with no evil plans. I cannot help viewing the unwelcomed fine lines appearing on my face and crow's feet in the corners of my eyes.

Oh! A longer stare into the mirror reveals that my hair has also lost its shine and the strands are rather dry and coarse. Uninvited grey strands have begun to show permanently. Where has the lustrous, jet black hair gone?

Furrows are appearing on my forehead - they're not so deep but enough to reveal my age. My eyes which were once bright and clear look a little bloodshot as if I am suffering from a Saturday night's hangover.

How come the sclera is no longer white but is the hue of the evening sunset over the Straits of Malacca? Oh, yes, the dear doctor did say that my dry eyes and a pterygium have caused the redness.

I was born with drooping eyelids but now the situation is definitely worst. My eyelids now look like a withered plant. I had thought of blepharoplasty, but I'm too afraid to go under the plastic surgeon's knife.

OK, then I will just tattoo my eyebrows to get that youthful and bright look. But, hold on. Will the well-arched black eyebrows complement the droopy eyelids? Definitely no! I am afraid of being stared at and overhearing funny remarks.

No complaints about my nose but the mouth too has weathered the times. No more sweet, soft lips. The upper lip has acquired the shape of an overturned boat. There are days when applying the best organic lip balm to the dry lips does not help much but a sense of acceptance and humour does. No jowls yet, but they will appear eventually much to my chagrin.

So, is attaining senior citizen status just about fading looks? No, not at all. The furrows on my forehead show the lines of wisdom acquired through the years via an inquisitive mind, education, personal experiences and interaction with others. The grey strands on my head invoke respect as I am now addressed as Grandma.

Love, kindness and care still shine through the eyes. The mouth may have lost its youthful shape but the everlasting smile is still there. The so called "double chin" is a sign of prosperity, haha! My countenance is a happy one.

Much more important to me are the many blessings that I have received - a happy family comprising a very caring, loving spouse, three wonderful children and a fine daughter-in-law who is very focused. To complete my happiness are my two grandchildren who have brought me endless joy with their innocence, hugs and kisses despite them depleting my energy whilst caring for them.

My relationship with my siblings, relatives, friends, ex-colleagues and classmates are also much more important than pigmentation, wrinkles and dry skin. Catching up with my dear siblings and reminiscing on the good old times is indeed exhilarating.

Nothing too like sharing time with my ex-classmates and ex-colleagues and just yakking away over a cup of tea or at a buffet draws out the fun in us. These warm people, warm moments and memorable times make senior years fulfilling.

On the top of the list is my relationship with God who has blessed me with a caring family, good friends, good career and good health. What is beauty compared to being able to continue to enjoy life, be it to go shopping at the local malls or to take a flight to visit places? For these blessings, I will forever be thankful and grateful to God.

I have penned these lyrics to be sung to the tune of Sixteen Going On Seventeen:

I am 60 going on 70, I am on the last lap of life, Fellows I meet, Will say that I am blessed, And willingly I agree. I am 60 going on 70, Despite my aching feet, I will be grateful, happy and carefree, That's all I want to be.