“To quote American poet Maya Angelou, ‘success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.’ For me, my achievement would be being at peace with who I am, liking who I am, accepting the way I am, and doing what I love.
I’m a part-time food delivery cyclist, and since cycling is my hobby, I’m able to enjoy my work. I also enjoy freelance writing and editing as that’s my full-time job, and I would say that that’s my greatest achievement.
Ageing is something that I am still coming to terms with despite knowing that it is part and parcel of life and is inevitable.
It’s something that I cannot avoid, but in my heart or in my mind and heart I can remain young.
Incidentally, I came across a quote on my Facebook feed yesterday by a professional tennis player. She said that despite being 37 years old, which is considered old for the profession, she still manages to play at the expert level.
To paraphrase her, ‘the tennis ball doesn’t know how old you are, and it’s up to you whether you can perform at an exceptional range.’
Similarly, how old I am really depends on my mindset. I can accept that I’m growing old, while at the same time I’m not living in denial, though the temptation is always there.
For example, my hair is getting grey and sometimes I want to look younger. When I go for a haircut every few months, I will sometimes ask the hairdresser or barber to change the colour of my hair to black or brown.
I’m getting old, yes, but that’s how I manage, emotionally and mentally. I think that mental health is very important because I have been reading about the common problems that come with old age like dementia and Alzheimer’s, and I don’t want to be vulnerable to these conditions. I want to keep myself happy.
I fear having some form of permanent disability before I pass on. Death is also a fear, even though it’s inevitable and everyone, even myself, will die at some point. Most want to die in a way that is peaceful. My fear is more of how I will die, if it’ll be peaceful.
The fear of ageing is not so much as ageing itself, but how I age. Will I age gracefully, or with a lot of inconveniences because of a disability, whether it’s physical or mental?
I would say that the greatest obstacle I’ve managed to overcome is being able to grow beyond my own self-imposed boundaries and limitations.
I grew up very shy and introverted afraid of public speaking. However, I managed to overcome it bit by bit with the help of the people I surrounded myself with later on in life. They helped me get over my biggest fear and be able to be confident.
I believe I’m still overcoming obstacles, challenging myself to keep overcoming these limitations I have set on myself, or limitations other people have set on me.
I don’t have any regrets. Whatever has happened has happened for a good reason. I may not understand everything, but I also cannot change anything that’s already been done.
If I did anything differently, there might have been a different outcome. Some things might have been better, while some things might have been worse. There’s only so much I can control, and anything I can control I would do. I learn from experience.
Having a childlike sense of wonder is what motivates me. I never know what the next day might hold, and as I get older, I’ll be able to gain more experience.
There are ups and downs everyday, sometimes I might see things that make me happy, sometimes things that make me sad.
There are times I would meditate and be comfortable in being alone without being truly lonely. I want to be more connected with the world around me and see how much I can continue to be a blessing in the things I do,” said Jimmy Tan, 47, freelance writer and editorial trainer, and part-time food delivery cyclist for Food Panda.
Jimmy is also the author of Nature Sketch: A poem about the Twelve Apostles in Victoria, Australia. Check out his book here.
This is part of our series called Age Like a Boss where we feature people aged 45 and above living their best lives. If you fall into this category, we would like to feature your story. Register your interest here.