While I was jogging just now, Mr Lee, with his aging Jack Russell, ran past me and told me to slow down, for he’ll make a u-turn at the end of the park connector and join me on my home stretch. I met Mrs Lee at the other end and learned that the dog is twelve years old and has severe cateract. She’d take over the dog while her 60+ year old husband run another round.
"Both of you can then jog back together," she said to me.
I told her no way. Mr Lee is too fast for me and I’d feel like the dog, struggling to keep up.
Mr and Mrs Lee put me to shame. They are at the track every evening without fail, unless there is a storm. I hope I’ll continue to jog until I’m their age too.
As I approach my 44th birthday, I’m keenly aware of the changes that my body experiences every month. The high peaks and low ebbs of progesterone and estrogen causes various reaction in me, as if warning, "This is your final call. If you want another baby, you don’t have much time left." I’m just waiting for the hot flushes that I hear so much about.
My mother-in-law (MIL), overweight and suffering from high blood pressure, hypertension, high blood sugar and mild diabetes, once remarked in her humourous yet resigned Teochew, "什么病都中, 马票又没中! (Strike every illness but not 4D!)"
On the opposite extreme is my mother, who takes such good care of herself that when I was still a child, people often mistook me for her sister (not surprising as I have an aunt who is only 22 months older than me). As I grew older, her friends would mistake me for her Filipina/Indonesian/Myamese maid. (Can’t blame them, as I’ve been told I don’t look Chinese and have been mistaken as a maid by my sons’ friends and delivery men as well. I’d like to think that’s the reason, rather than my dressing.)
When Mom was in her mid-thirties, our first Filipina maid had to get up very early to pound and brew herbs in time for Mom’s breakfast. That was followed by various concoction of health supplements, fruit juices, blood type diet, water filters to drink and bathe, and organic products through the years…and that’s just the food. Perhaps unlike my MIL, working in a MNC required that she looks professional.
I’m trying to play catch-up after many years of neglect. On my face, there’s the pigmentation from all the suntanning during my twenties and thirties, the open pores from lack of home-care and infrequent facials (I can still hear the therapists go tsk tsk tsk as they peer through their magnifying glass at my complexion) and the fine lines everywhere.
So now every night before I go to bed, I have to slather creams, lotions and ointments from top to toe. There’s open pores essence at the T-zones, whitening cream along the cheeks, and lifting cream along the neck and jaw. Further down, there’s breast cream (where did I get that from?), anti-cellulite cream for tummy and buttock, transglucosamine cream for knees (got to feed the joints when it’s still fine), and finally moisturizer for hands and feet. Then there’s my calcium pills, multi-vits, iron tablets (free from blood donation. I don’t need it, but since it’s there, I just take it.)
Horros to horrors, I realise I’m turning into my mother without acheiving the desired effect. Growing old gracefully certainly needs plenty of work. I only wish when I’m 70, even if I don’t 中马票, it’s ok. Just don’t let me 中 any illness.