Lim: Where have all the years gone?

Lim: Where have all the years gone?
SunStar Lim

When I look at the face that stares back at me in the mirror, I ask myself, where have all the years gone? Gone is the glow of youth and in its place are the ravages of age. I look at pictures, even just a decade past and I cannot believe the destruction since.

Is it gone for good? The taut and glowing skin? The skin that stayed supple and soft yet seemed incapable of sagging? The skin that held itself up like a bestie does to you even on your darkest days?

Yes. Tragically gone for good.

Do I want it back? On most days, I do. But the rest of the time, I’m simply grateful to be alive, healthy and well—well enough to whine about what I’ve lost.

Do I miss the young and stress-free days? I don’t think I ever had any. I was young once but my days were rarely worry-free. I was always overthinking.

Twenty-seven tabs open. All the time. That’s me.

Was I on the right path? Was I making the right choices in life? Every time I picked up a book, I was always looking for the message as I turned the pages. What was God trying to tell me?

How do I survive disease, poverty, nuclear war?

I spent so many years of my life preparing for loss, heartbreak and failure. I worry less now. And not because I care less but because I know what will come will come, anyway, and worrying about them will not make them go away.

Do I have regrets? Perhaps I could have loved better, been kinder, eaten less chocolate.

Most times, I did the best I could. But I wasn’t without fault, flaw or failing. Still, I didn’t lie or deceive anyone. I loved truly, cared deeply, fought fiercely for what I believed in.

I made mistakes. I made wrong choices. I said words I never should have. I caused pain. I could have done better but I can’t undo the past so I will work, instead, on doing better today and every day for the rest of my life.

You’ll never have all that you want. But you don’t need all that you want. There is no perfect person to love out there, only imperfect people to love, many of whom are already in your life. The search for happiness ends when you realize happiness is not something you look for but something you find within yourself.

Gone is the girl. Today stands the woman who has loved and lost, fought and failed, ventured and floundered. I’ve had tough times and dark days—moments when I wanted to give up. But miraculously, I found the light.

Gone is the glow of youth but in its place are the lessons of love, forgiveness and grace. Each day is still a struggle but the aspiration to find humility, strength and courage makes everything less formidable.

It’s not that I no longer desire to overcome the ravages of age but the desire to become a better human being now competes with equal fervor.

Where have all the years gone? They’ve gone to a good place. I am who I am today because of where I’ve been.


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