Toru dashes in to see her mother – Emi, earphones in place. She navigates her zoom meeting as she quickly hands over mom’s prescription drugs to her. She is on her way to pick up the twins from school and as mum tries to recount her experience for the day, she responds with a sharp “not now mom. We will catch up when I come over on Saturday”. With that Toru sails out the door and contemplates the fastest route to the twins’ school to avoid traffic.
Come Saturday, Emi eagerly awaits the visit of her only daughter – Toru and prepares Onunu, the favorite meal of the twins. After a hearty lunch, the children run off to play with the neighbour’s children while mother and daughter settle down to their usual weekly tete-a-tete.
Toru begins “Mom, you look exquisite. So natural, fresh and relaxed. Was it not for your strands of grey hair you could easily pass for my elder sister? In fact, my friends are always teasing me and commending your looks. The stress of the times just doesn’t seem to leave its mark on you, meanwhile, I remember when we were growing up, you were always so busy with the shop, I determined never to grow up running a shop. It just seemed so stressful”.
Emi responds “Baby girl, the years between 20 and 50 constitute the “Hustle phase of life”. You feel you must make it or break it especially as you look forward to a stable life by age 50. At the same time as you are building a career/ business, you are juggling home, and investing for the future, while keeping up with the Joneses. Life is a whirlwind at that phase. Believe me, when I say, I can identify with you.”
She continues: “However, given that the average life expectancy is 70-80 years, the phase between the ages of 50 and 80 should be spent in quiet repose enjoying the simple things of life. The tranquility and serenity with which you face life at this point emanates from within and exudes a radiance that gives a youthful glow to the skin. This, my dear daughter, is what can be referred to as graceful aging”.
Toru too responds “Mom…mom and her rhetoric. “I guess the real question is – what do you need to do to achieve graceful aging”?
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