50 years old used to sound so old, grandmotherly old, that is. After all, My own grandmother was only 39 when I was born and my own mother was 49 when I presented her with her first grandson. Somehow, being a grandmother makes you take stock of things like age, and your dressing, and behaviours. One can’t help feeling the age when ministers and MPs, people whom are traditionally older than you are younger.
At 50, I realise I am eligible to join certain senior clubs, which is good when I am suddenly the youngest in class. Thanks to my writing mentor who brought me into various literary events in Singapore, I joined the National Library’s memoir writing class for seniors last April. The class is opened to those 50 years and above and I fit right in, much better than with the young writers of the Mentorship Access Programme (MAP).
After four weeks together in the memoir class, which finalized into an anthology, the group has morphed into a writing group where we meet once a month. I shall be joining them tomorrow for my first meeting.
I had not planned to join in the NUSS Book Club but they were so happy to see a new face during an author’s meet that I was immediately added into their circulation list. It helped that the book they had chosen last October before they break off for the year was a book that had been sitting on my shelves for years but had not been read. I was amused to find a few who attended the meeting had not read the book, and that the conversation tended to veer off topic, but it was fun. Now that they have shifted the meeting to Tuesday night meant I could continue with it without missing my Thursday yoga night. It also meant I have a regular menu of reading material every month, what with peer reviews from my writing group and my book for the book club.
Last year, the nice people from Singapore Sports Council decided to give $100 active SG dollar to encourage more to join its class. I decided to sign up for a advance yoga class at a centre near my house. My young instructor, Dan, warned me that his class is unlike other yoga classes. Within thirty minutes, I was perspiring and panting like I had just ran up the stairs. Holding an awkward pose for his slow count of six was excruciating. But more than that, having a male teacher meant I had to be weary of my dressing – no low cut neckline where cleavage is exposed during bends or loose tees which fold down during head stands. The first time he adjusted my pose, I felt myself holding my breadth. Such close proximity to another male who is not in my family is rare for me but I am enjoying it.
I also joined a four-week mindfulness class and was invited to join the mindfulness club at the Brahm Centre. I have yet to take up the invitation.
No, I didn’t celebrate my 50th in November with a bang. My friend’s family gave her a 50th birthday surprise in July which made me green with envy. I had received a secret whatsapp invitation from her daughter but couldn’t attend as I was away. Yet, I couldn’t mention it to my family or they would feel obligated. In the end, my dear sis-in-law took me out for a surprise buffet and my aunt bought me my favourite cake. I learn you need women in the family if you want surprises.
However, in March, my primary school class (yes, we were classmates from nine to twelve) decided to celebrate a joint 50th birthday with our class teacher. What a birthday bash we had.
Last year also marked a year of gatherings with my secondary two and four classmates. We had a great time catching up.
It was a great year as a novice writer, marked by two public appearences – once for the launch of my memoir anthology, and another at the Singapore Writer’s Festival for the end of MAP. I had hoped my book would be accepted by then but nothing from the publishrrs so far.
In October, my husband was given a golden handshake by his company of almost thirty years. This has jolted me out of my comfort zone and made me reconsider if its realistic to continue this pursuit of my passion in writing. Perhaps it’s time I rejoin the workforce.
2016 starts with much uncertainty but I am comfortable being out of my comfort zone. I just need to be mindful and breathe.
Happy New Year!