The Lightness of Being 55 by Jean Chong and Cycle Write Blog

Jean and I hit it off when we bantered in the comment section of my post, On Getting Older. Responding to my reluctance to tell my age, she said, “Well, one day you’ll feel great to reveal your age. Seriously, it is earning life experience that no one can take away from you.” I dunno, I’m still a Naija girl and we hide our age in a room locked with steel chains.

Mark Twain said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” To me, Jean echoes this sentiment in her post. While I’m not racing into my fifties, I’m not dragging my feet either. I want to enter my later years having established healthy and sustainable lifestyle choices as Jean has done. I hope she’ll inspire you to be “light” at fifty-five and beyond. Hear her:

The Lightness of Becoming 55

It’s a special age of symmetry for anyone:  it’s 2 open hands that are smacking double high “fives” with hands of other birthday well-wishers.

55 means I’ll just hopefully go for a bike ride  around my birthday. No, it won’t be a 55 km. ride since my birthday falls on a winter work day this month.  Our evenings are still dark early and there may be icy pavements. We’ve had several winter days that have plunged below -31 degrees C. with a howling snowstorm.

Still, it’s a strange feeling …55. Continue here

35 thoughts on “The Lightness of Being 55 by Jean Chong and Cycle Write Blog

  1. “I dunno, I’m still a Naija girl and we hide our age in a room locked with steel chains.” Lol 😀

    I tell people I’m in my mid-twenties instead of giving a specific number. You need to do a post on this one day, Timi. What’s the deal with Nigerians and age? Oh, and I know that ageism is thriving in our country too.

    Anyway, you know I don’t have mouth to talk where fitness is concerned. My unfinished 30-day challenge is enough evidence, ha ha! I chalk that up to my insatiable appetite for Asian delicacies. I wonder if we can burn calories from daydreaming because I would never have to do a single workout.

    Thanks for sharing this inspiring post, livelytwist! 🙂


    1. Yes, now you mention it, I remember your 30-day challenge 😀 We were looking forward to the before and after photos . . . the year is not yet over Maggielola!
      I like the energy from fitness/aerobics classes at the gym. In another life, I was a gym buff. Now, I burn calories by jogging nearly every morning. Sometimes, it is hard, so I feel you.

      Age. Hmmm. Yes, I think I should do a post on it. I remember hearing that you don’t ask a lady her age. Who came up with that? Mid-twenties huh? I am yet to formulate an answer to the question 🙂


      1. Seems like the trend where I work, is that some ladies have hinted approximately what they are…ie. they had their lst baby @ 30 yrs., or they just celebrated their milestone age, 40 or 50. There is a tiny handful people at work who know I am over 50.

        But then they, can access my blog and read the real age. My blog was hooked up to a little story profile that was done on my cucling habits by my employer. Oh well. So people find out.


        1. Hmmm, clever, but I’ve been asking myself lately, what is the big deal? 🙂 Here in NL, almost every time you call a service channel- private or public- you’re asked your date of birth. I may just blog about it . . .


          1. There’s no need really to know age all the time about your customers. Certainly for govn’t and I’ve worked for govn’t in 3 different provinces in Canada, by law the govn’t organization has to have a very specific reason for asking age of the customer and collecting that type of personal information. Especially specific age of each person. We have freedom of access to information and protection of personal information laws here in Canada that at least govern provincial and federal govn’t agencies.

            The private sector is a bit different but there is also requirements for Canadian firms. I’m actually amazed worldwide how a lot of countries require job applicants must give their age, send a photo, etc. Inappropriate. It is illegal in Canada.


            1. It’s quite normal here to ask for date of birth, social security number, address, etc, (in different order, depending on institution) as a means of identification over the phone (mostly public sector).

              With regards date of birth, the question is, “what’s your date of birth” not “how old are you”. In these transactions, it doesn’t feel like a violation, because you understand the context. If you walked into their offices to transact business as opposed to doing it on the phone, you’d need to show your ID, which has your date of birth anyway.

              This age question, it’s interesting isn’t it? 😀


              1. I worked for a German global construction engineering firm which had a Vancouver large construction project. (Yes, have had some interesting employers). The project manager did hire a sizable percentage of foreign ex-pat people from overseas. These people willy nilly had their date of birth, photo on resumes which I forwarded to HR as the right dept.

                For job recruitment of applicants, Canadian employers by law, cannot ask applicants for their age (or date of birth), gender, photo, medical condition or place of birth –prior to hire as a successful applicant. Even thereafter, it’s only the human resources dept. that holds this info. and is required by law, to hold it confidentially. This is to reduce discrimination based on race, gender, age in the interviewing, screening /selection process. This is human rights legislation in Canada. Has been in place for past few decades. Of course, there are ways around this but at least at minimum, is to establish equity at the beginning.

                There are strict laws in Canada on asking a person for their social security number because it is tied to so much personal information held by the govn’t.

                I totally disagree providing advance photos of oneself for job applications. It’s better not to prejudge a person before meeting them. Focus on their competencies, skills, etc.


  2. I almost had a new bicycle, last year, while dating someone who wanted to take me biking. I like to hike, enjoy strolling too! Sometimes it is fun being my age of almost 59 and others, not so fun! I worry about money a lot and how long I will be able keep working. But, the body and mind are still functioning, MOST of the time! Ha ha! You look good in your gravatar and if you don’t want to reveal your age, don’t worry, be happy! It is your own choice, now, my dear friend! Hugs, Robin


    1. “But, the body and mind are still functioning, MOST of the time!” 🙂
      Although this post focuses on the body, I’m glad you brought up the mind too. Exercise helps to keep me mentally alert, but I need more. Writing is a good outlet for me and I guess you as well.
      I enjoy strolling too. You are so bubbly at 59 Robin, keep sparkling!


    2. Well Robin, we do need to address some of the basic stuff for survival. But after that, the gate is open how to exercise our mind….which reminds me maybe I should adjust my About page to include why I dabble in art –a lifelong passion too but not dependent on a slowly aging body.


  3. Hmmm… and to think that just yesterday evening, I was told that someday all this stress will catch up on us.. result? You end up looking older than your age. I guess I need to start to change lifestyle


    1. @Change lifestyle, don’t we all? I like laughing and spreading cheer. I think it helps relieve stress and then maybe, we can end up looking younger than we are 😉

      So, what are you going to change?


        1. Table tennis . . . fun! I used to play and get beaten every time 😦
          I’m a fruit and veggies girl myself. I just need to remove the cream from the strawberries and stop “dousing” my salad in olive oil 😉

          You go girl!


  4. I’m kicking and clawing my way into the twilight. I’m gonna lose, but father time is going to end up with a busted lip and a black eye for his efforts!



    1. Lol! I love the imagery 😀
      I am pounding my wayward body into submission and I don’t intend to lose! Seriously though, I’m exploring options for food, drink, exercise, and even work, friendships, hobbies, and commitments, and asking, “Can I sustain this over the long haul?”


  5. I like to run and haven’t gotten the time(more like overcome my reluctance) to buy another gear and explore my new home. Now I think I’ll just break the bank and do it.

    Thanks for sharing Timi 🙂


    1. Just do it! 🙂
      The thing though is finding an activity that you can sustain over a lifetime. Enjoyment is key as is the ease (convenience) to do it anywhere you go. It’s easy to run/jog almost everywhere. Jean is sold out, she has bikes nearly everywhere! 😀


  6. Thanks Timi for sharing, Jean is really inspiring. I totally resonate with her that when you find what you love it stops being a chore. I like running… You know that :-), but it wasn’t always love at first… I guess as with most things, you just need stickiness, then you find a creative way to make it fun and to set targets that keep you going. I want to run over 1000km this year and it looks in hand with nearly 800km already. I also pack my suitcase with a running shoe as I like to run in new cities when I travel. I am in Houston now and I wasn’t going to… (What was I thinking!), but now with this post, I am going to buy a running gear today and hit the road tomorrow or if I can’t wait this evening…and explore the neighbourhood…making sure not to go through any gated communities (no comments pls). Finally it does help if your partner is also a partner in your activity.


    1. Stickiness, that’s what we need. We give up to quickly sometimes.
      @partner, yes indeed. Although I find running/jogging to be like a ‘solo’ thing . . .
      800km, you make us jealous. Go Frank, go! Enjoy running round Houston 🙂


    2. Jogging, cycling and walking are great ways to explore cities. Even with walking combining with transit. The trick is choosing the hotel/place to stay in an area that isn’t surrounded by high speed highways but close to some cool things to check out. Keep on trucking along with those jogs, Frank.

      I haven’t gotten into running ..event though I live close to a lengthy, popular bike-pedestrian-jogging protected path.


  7. We started biking again in our 50’s after a 30 year absence. It helps that the pavements in Florida are never icy.

    We’ve got a guy on our street who is still bicycling at 96!!!


      1. Biking is very popular in The Netherlands. I bike recreationally, which means you won’t catch me biking on rainy, cold, snowy, or other bad weather days. Maybe, if I move to Florida, it could become my exercise for life 🙂
        Biking at 96, well, well, way to go!
        Now that you’ve rediscovered biking, is it something you do regularly?


        1. Yes. We bike several times a week ~ short jaunts only. The farthest I’ve gone is 14 miles round trip. Normally, we do 3-5 miles (or a 2 mile walk). And when we swim (3x a week), we bike up to the pool and back ~ about 2 miles.


  8. Gosh, more well-wishers. Peeking at both blogs above, Susan is from Aussieland and Aimpurpose where are you based?

    Aim, my partner is 16 yrs. older than I. He also still cycles. There will be a blog post about him soon..


  9. My dad’s birthday is today and I tried calculating when he’ll be 70 and it is astounding how old I would be myself then cos I’ll have spent 15 years in active law practice!
    Jean must be an amazing woman to be bicycling into her 55th year! I love what she said about finding the exercise that is your favourite and it stops being a chore. I think it is true for anything you are passionate about.
    Thanks for sharing Timi!


    1. Hi Ife (Aim), yes, Jean is “light” and I like that about her. I’m jogging almost daily at the moment, and although I’m disciplined, sometimes, I think it’s a chore 😦 I’m working on finding something I can commit to for the long term.


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