Lim: It finally happened

Melanie Lim.
Melanie Lim.File photo

It finally happened. And on my 25th year of writing this column. After 25 years, it should all be muscle memory but I’m 25 years older, too, so give me a break.

I can’t believe it, but I forgot to write a column. And I’m not proud of it. Thankfully, my editor knows I’m a creature of habit. So when my self-imposed deadline passed and no column arrived on her screen, she sent me a gentle reminder.

Last weekend, my sisters and I checked out some popular places up in the hills for my father. Only one place passed the inspection. They were all Instagram-worthy but they were sadly not elderly-friendly. But the trip was quite enlightening.

At one of the places, my sister and I had a difficult time just opening the car door as the car was parked on an uphill slope and we were going against gravity. Getting out of the car was unexpectedly a challenging task. We realized this was not such a great idea, after all.

Some young people were milling about the restaurant as we entered the place. A number of staff (all young, as well) were at the entrance but all ignored us. We felt visibly invisible.

“Do you have wheelchair accessibility?” I asked. That’s when I heard the short and stone-cold “no.” I understood then that the likes of us were not welcome at this place. It was a nice place—but sadly, only for a date. Yes, not for the likes of us.

I looked around. Too many steps. Too many platforms. Too many uneven surfaces. Too many chances even for the ambulatory but elderly to slip.

“This place is not for us,” I told my sister. “Our time has passed,” she said. “Oh yes,” I agreed, “even if you were up to it and went on a date here, your date could end up in the emergency room.” We had a good laugh about it. But I felt a little bit sad afterwards.

Has our time really passed? Am I in such deep denial about where I am in my life now?

The other day, busy super-cleaning as usual, I scraped a finger. I put a Band-Aid over it. Some minutes had passed when I felt my finger still hurting. I glanced down at my hand and to my horror, realized that I had put the Band-Aid on the wrong finger.

It finally happened. And I’m not proud of it. My perfectly efficient life has passed. Age has now created so many moments of inadequacy and incapacity in my life that I am now filled with so much self-doubt.

But I am alive and well. And still so perfectly capable of living a life of purpose, so I will not give up. I will soldier on. I will do all I can to stay fit and functional, to stay competent and capable and I will endeavor to forgive myself for being occasionally forgetful.

It finally happened. I have aged. And there are many moments when I truly feel inadequate, incapable and invisible but I will not give up this life that God gave me, without a fight.

I’m not proud of myself when I mess up, when I make a mistake, when I can’t remember. But I’m proud of myself when despite the fact that I know my time has passed, I refuse to give up on living the best life possible.


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