The writer, a cycling enthusiast, just hit 70 and is already looking forward to the next 10-year milestone
BY ADI SATRIA
Being born on April 1 may be a joke to some but as far as I am concerned I am having a good laugh celebrating my 70th birthday – undoubtedly an important milestone in my life.
And it was a great cool morning – perfect for my cycling ritual. The city of Kuala Lumpur seemed to be welcoming this dawn of my new age as I gazed towards the cool atmosphere surrounding it from the vintage point at Stelvio Pass @Bukit Antarabangsa.
When we were younger anyone above 50 was considered old and retired and 70 was the time many would have passed on.
Well, many of my classmates have gone and some are struggling with health issues.
As a matter of fact, even last week one of my classmates who was a champion athlete in school passed away, and he was on wheelchair for some time. May god bless their souls.
I used to think that “Life begins at 40” and come to think of it, I did start living dangerously at that age.
As I moved up my career ladder, I spent more on food until I realised that was the critical point to start the beginning of the end of your life. I took my first scuba lesson at 50 and dived in many exotic places in Southeast Asia.
The underwater world is an experience one can only feel if one just does it. It gave me an insight into the diverse and fragile ecosystem threatened by man’s own insatiable greed for power and wealth.
Age is just a number
If one dives at the Jabatan Laut Jetty in Pulau Perhentian Besar, you will see marine life and corals growing on artificial reefs. Those structures were put up by our team way back in 2007 and sponsored by Panasonic Malaysia.
It was also the year we celebrated Malaysia’s 50th Merdeka Day underwater, photographed with the Malaysian flag. And we also created the longest underwater painting on canvas, about 90 meters in length, and now kept somewhere in the national Art gallery.
I enjoyed riding big motorcycles which took me to places like the famous Phuket Bike Week and to Krabi with the Harley Davidson groups much younger than me. They never knew my age and it is nice to feel and be treated as one of them.
After all, age is just a number and what you can do is more important if you want to earn their respect. I never wanted to be patronising or condescending to them just because I was older than them.
Since being involved in organising the KL 2017 SEA games and ASEAN Para, I started to pick up cycling, which by then was the fastest growing recreation sports in the world.
If anyone wants to enjoy a good workout at any age, I will recommend cycling and swimming.
Looking ahead to the next 10-year milestone, what would I do differently that will sustain my enjoyment of this god given life? My class buddy and soulmate Alias, over a meal spoke about issues of the environment, politics, social inequalities and health and agreed these have become even more pressing now.
Exercise and eat right
At our age we could just ignore them, but instead we should be inspiring and guiding our youth to engage more and play a bigger role in championing human and social issues. The pandemic lockdowns have given our youth more time to think and ponder that the future of their world is not sustainable unless they start being involved in changing things now.
I am encouraged to see it happening, yes, but the momentum needs to be faster. We were young once and am proud to say that during my campus days we played our role in the change movement.
I personally was incarcerated and paid the price but have no regrets. Nonetheless, it inspired me to continue making our voice count and with social media, the platforms of information dissemination and engagement is more effective now than ever before.
Remaining positive in attitude is really the secret to a long and meaningful life.
My parents and grandparents whose cool, positive and simple lifestyles saw them living beyond 80, are my inspiration and guidance. And as Alias said, we must continue to re-examine our worldview, present and past, so we can continue to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
All said, I guess my best birthday present so far must be the message from my daughter who lives in Sweden with her husband and my grandson Liam, who said that I must be one of the most positive persons on earth. Despite not being able to celebrate with me due to the pandemic, it made her forget about the separation due to the positive vibes I sent via the WhatsApp video call.
I thank god for His little blessings. But more important is not to forget to do good things to our body and mind by exercising and eating right, and positively looking at life with a smile.
And even at our age, we must continue voicing out what we feel is not right. — The Health
Adi Satria, a marketing communications veteran, feels that growing old is inevitable but growing up is an option. So, stay young in your attitude.