Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hanging up the heels

I recently attended the wedding of my godson, a beautiful affair that left most of us tear-eyed. The festivities were day-long, and of course I wanted to look my best. I dug out my high heels which I haven’t worn since, well, another wedding sometime ago.  A reasonably high pair of sandals during the day, and fancier shoes in the evening. There was a lot of standing around and imbibing of cocktails before the event, and I thought I did pretty well. I congratulated myself that I had cleverly minimized the amount of walking around on those heels by having my car jockey-parked and taking the elevator instead of climbing up and down the stairs. I did feel twinges in my lower back as I was walking but it wasn’t until I got home that I fully realised how badly my spine was aching, from just those few hours of wearing heels. I suffered for many days after as well.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Invisible me

I know. After a certain age, us older folk become invisible. Or at least I did, once I started being called Aunty. The eyes of staff in stores, restaurants and showrooms would kind of pass over me to a younger, more hip-looking person behind me. The barista would rather talk to and serve an attractive twenty something even though I was before her in line. It was almost laughable how no one bothered to pinch my bottom anymore in Italy.

Turkish Delight

Before I went to Turkey, many people had warned me to be on my guard, against unsavoury characters, pickpockets and mostly individuals out to make a quick buck and fleece unsuspecting tourists. One friend had been taken round and round the same area by a taxi driver claiming not to be able to find his hotel. His ride ended up costing him three times as much as he should have paid.

To be sure, I was cheated, sort of. I had opted to take an overnight bus from Istanbul to Goreme in the Cappadocia region instead of flying, to save money. The bus ride itself wasn’t too bad. The sight of the unworldly moonscape that greeted me in the early dawn more than made up for the discomfort of riding ten hours in a bus.

Fire up my love of reading

I’ve always been an avid reader, from the time when I was a tiny tot. Nothing beats the feeling of delving into the world of the written word, not the movie version of the book, not TV or online games. I can get lost in a story, my imagination all fired up. I can be absorbed in a good undercover expose in print, eager to know the outcome. I love an absorbing biography, learning new things along the way. I can be riveted by whodonits, reading through the night to find out who the real murderer is, or cry over a tearjerking romance. Even adventures with a beloved dog can leave me in stitches and tears at the same time.

Learning Japanese

When I was in Japan earlier this year, the most of the Japanese language I could manage was “Arigato gozaimazu”. Even in its romanised form, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the long, long words, especially the names of stations that I had to remember when getting around from place to place. Apart from the language, however, there were just so many things about the country and its people that I loved and loved learning from.

Thumbs up for Airbnb

When I used to travel with my young son, many years ago, his idea of a treat was to stay in the hotel room and order room service. Come to think of it, when we stayed at the Ritz Carlton in Singapore a few years back when he was already working, that was still his favourite thing. I do love staying in hotels. There’s nothing like being pampered in a ritzy room with 1000-threadcount sheets on beds you don’t have to make, taking long, long baths with thick towels, pigging out on a sumptuous buffet spread at breakfast and lounging by the pool. I also like tiny b&bs that have lots of atmosphere, quirky furnishings and personalised service.

Spa etiquette

“Ohh, that feels sooo good!” I groaned to myself as May, my masseuse dug her fingers into my lower back. She poured some oil into the palm of her hand, rubbed her two hands together and placed them on my sacrum, the same spot that is always aching, probably because of the misalignment in my spine there. She then moved up to my shoulders and gave them the same treatment. Her movements were so hypnotic that I found myself nodding off until … wait, did she spend as long on my left shoulder as my right?

Is there a silver lining?

I signed up recently at a new gym and was put through the whole rigmarole of the physical test and analysis. At the end of it, my fitness trainer said that the test shows I have the body of a 35 year old. I actually burst out laughing and said “Tell that to my body!”

I know (and my body knows). Growing old is a bummer.  I wake up to that fact every morning, with the joints in my fingers stiff, sometimes so stiff I can’t hold my toothbrush tightly. Then it hits me again when I make oats for breakfast instead of indulging in something sinful like French toast or nasi lemak.

Looking on the lighter side of ageing

Hello, I’m Caroline, a 50 something baby boomer who gets called aunty wherever I go. It used to irk me until I figured it was infinitely better than being called ah por or granny. The journey so far into my “third age” has been rewarding in many ways, and a royal pain in others. So I’m reaching out to the rest of my baby boomer generation (born between 1945 and 1964) to share similar experiences, advice and anecdotes. Those who are younger might also be interested to pick up some nuggets of advice, all served up with a healthy dose of humour. My attitude nowadays is “Hey, life is short. Make lemonade. Look for the silver lining. Because the alternative is … well, you know.”

I’ve worked in the advertising industry for decades, writing ads, jingles, TV and radio spots, brochures, you name it. I’ve also tried my hand at editing a spa magazine, being a masseuse and co-owned a spa, modeling agency and cafĂ©. After some hits and misses, I’ve decided that I’m better off sticking to my day job. I’ve told everyone I know to slap me, really hard, if they hear me even mentioning a new business venture. Anyway, my first love is and has always been writing.

I love to eat and read, meeting up with friends, music and travel. I hate the cold, rudeness, exercise, housework and posers. I’d love to hear from you whether you have a comment about my post, have some advice you want to share, want to rant, or just feel like having a say about something.