While reaching a ripe old age is viewed as a blessing to some, there are those who would rather cram more into a short but meaningful life. And you see the wisdom in the latter perspective when you encounter immobile old folks with blank stares requiring assistance in everything they do.
Regardless of your stance on the matter, everyone presumably wants to live a life rich in experiences, and at the end of your time under the sun, the positives tip the scales in your favour.
That would be ideal.
Meanwhile, there will be lots of curve balls and unexpected pitfalls to deal with, and uncertainties in life to manage: Will there be a slap out of the blue to shake your otherwise rock-like resolve?
At the end of the day, you do want peace of mind; a balance of health, wealth and happiness.
Here are some views from panelists at the WED WEB CHAT — A Full Life. (You can read the report The Ageing Cloud And The Silver Lining.)
Kong Teck Chuan is a physician with the well-established traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) business, Eu Yan Sang. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Nanyang Technological University and a Bachelor in Medicine (Chinese Medicine) from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. He believes in empowering patients through personalised traditional Chinese medicine tips, therapeutic food and healthy lifestyle sharing.
Normala Manap is a director at Age Matters. She is an age care pioneer who has been involved in social development for more than three decades and has recently launched Writing My Life Story, a workshop series to help seniors write their biographies. She believes that starting early with a health routine should be done early so it becomes easier to stick with it.
Benjamin Goh runs his own business, Connectere (S) and sits on the board of VWO Care Community Services Society. He believes life should be “kept simple”.
BlessAnn Luah is part of the leadership team at Distilleri and has launched SilverStreak, a new online media platform that champions the mindset of living fuller, regardless of age. She believes that while since has cured age-related diseases, people have not begun to address age as a mindset.
We’ve also lined up some thoughts from readers about what a full life means to them. Here is a sampling of what they have to say.
Mark Lautman, author and economic architect, USA
“I apply three measures for a full life. First is an algorithm of health, purpose, family, friends, and money — of which I am fortunate to have in abundance.
The second is a race strategy my swimming coaches taught, referred to as a ‘Negative Split’.
It means swimming the last half of the race faster than the first half.
I plan to live plan to 100. At 73 I have 27 years left. Negative splitting my life means staying fit enough to live, work, play and contribute more value to the world each year.
The third criteria is a mantra my brothers and some close friends adopted early in our lives: He who dies with the most peak experiences wins.”
Dr Sanjay Kuttan, poet
“At my funeral I hope to be remembered as someone whose faith inspired him to love unconditionally, to be courageous to accept all definitions of love with an open heart and to stand up for those who deserved to experience the full measure of love.
(And Dr Sanjay whipped up a haiku)
Me being present,
in the lives of my loved ones,
a full life defined.”
Jason Chiam, educator
“A full life for me means being to provide a good foundation in knowledge and life experiences for my children and being able to retire in grace and with zest.”
Dom Meli, consultant, People At Their Best, Australia
“Involvement in things which I find meaningful — doing things I care about. At the end of the day, having the ability to determine how to spend one’s time is a rare freedom. Autonomy, purpose and mastery form the route to a full life. But it is hard to achieve today.”
Mary Thomas, Educator
“A full life is having multiple opportunities to try new things and remaining devoted to it or abandoning it after realising it is not your cuppa. It is about not being pushed to do many things without individual direction and permission or individual decision.”
Benny Se Teo, Chef
“It means that I’m willing to put in hard work when I need to and to walk away when I need to, too. It means that my life may not be easy, but it’s worth it.”
Richard Hoon, Mentor
“A full life is a fulfilled life. I found my purpose, navigated life with passion and without regrets and now I hope to mentor others. I am healthy, happy and sane, and for that I am grateful.”
Joseph Tang, retired teacher, UK
“Life is as long as the time we are given. Pursue your dreams, don’t give up.”
Steven Khoo, pilot
“It definitely does not mean packing as much as you can into it. It would be to strive for wellness in your life to live an ageless life.
Do all that you want to do. Dance like no one’s watching. Anytime, anywhere.
It’s definitely achievable. Take care of your body and mind, and you will know the path of life.”
MW Chan, Founder, SustainableSG
“A full life is one that is full of meaning, beauty and doing good. It’s anchored by family ties, friendships and professional relationships to remind us that we live for others and future generations too. A full life is an ongoing pursuit of trying, clocking modest and tangible wins along the way, and always asking questions.”
Marie Wee, writer
“It means that I have made a positive impact strong enough to always be remembered for it, be it on one person or many. Just make it count. Also, remember, contentment is key. Don’t be overly attached to anyone or anything so that in your last breath you’d be thinking, this is enough, I have had a good life.”
P Jeyaratnam, entrepreneur
“A full life is your making, based on your philosophy and motivation in life to live it fully and experience as much as possible from multiple avenues. That in itself has immense gratification for the enlightened seeker.”