Our population is getting old. I read a report that in 2006, the whole world had 500 million people aged 65 or older. By 2020, one in six Singapore residents will be 65 or older!

As a small country which is only turning 50 years old next year, I can’t help but feel that ours is a dog’s life. A dog ages by 7 years for every human year. This means a 10 year old dog is physically and mentally as old as a 70 years old human.

We are only six years away when the society’s median age (i.e. the most people) will become 45 years old. What do such statistics mean for us personally? While the government has recognized this hot potato issue and is taking every step possible to deal with it, what can we as individuals of the nation do to keep pace with this drastic ageing situation?

Well, I am a firm believer of this belief :- that where we are today, be it mentally, physically and spiritually, is an outcome of the efforts put in by our old self as long as 10-15 years ago. If we look fit and slim in our forties, we must have been working out and eating right since we were in our thirties. If we are unfit and sloppy in our fifties, we must have given in to our cravings and stopped exercising 10 years earlier. Especially for us men who had completed our National Service obligations from 40 years old onwards, the motivation to avoid being called up for additional physical training by exercising more regularly literally evaporated with the release letter!

Hence, we need to first envision the kind of person we want to be 10 – 15 years from now. We may gain more white hair or lose more hair (depending on our genes). But our body is ours to keep! If we desire a fit body 10 years into the future, the best time to attain it is start now! We must want it so badly that it will seem like another romancing season, except that instead of chasing after our lover, we must adopt the same mindset to pursue our vision. We need to get them aligned with our long term vision and goal of staying fit and healthy.

Similarly, if we desire a sound mind by then, we have to stay curious and sharp. Life long learning is the way to go. I live by the motto “Learn, share and bless”. Others may misunderstand my eagerness to share whatever I’ve learnt as an attempt to draw attention to myself. But I’m not bothered by such distractions. Once you know me long enough, you’ll know the good intentions from the bottom of my heart.

Finally, there is the spiritual food that we should partake daily from God, the creator of our universe. Reading the bible daily will not only renew our faith and hope. It will refresh and recharge us by giving us peace, strength and hope to overcome fears and anxieties in our daily lives. When we acknowledge our weaknesses and seek God for His support, God will never disappoint us. He makes all things possible through Christ, our saviour and our Lord!

May you be blessed and inspired by my sharing. Let’s age blissfully together!

Francis How
2nd June, 2014