A Year Well Lived?

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A Year Well Lived?
The year-end is a time for reflection and anticipation.
Most of the time, we look ahead rather than at the rear-view mirror. Why else is there a proliferation of new-year wishes and a dearth of hearty farewells to the year just passed?
Let’s stop to ponder: Is celebrating a year well-lived not as important as receiving a wishful new year?

Time, I dare say, is a more precious commodity for seniors, so a year well-lived is satisfying validation for another year of meaningful existence.

On another level, a year well-lived provides the impetus for one to try to do as well, if not better, in the coming year; and a mark of active ageing.
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Just like savouring a delicious dish or fine wine, the after-taste of a year well-lived lingers on, making one yearn for more good years.
Self-assessment
But, how does one know objectively whether the past year has been well-lived?
In business, we rely on a set of pre-determined success factors to evaluate whether a project has been successful.
We could, similarly, agree on a checklist of what constitutes a year well-lived, and populate the list with metrics that allow for a self-assessment of how the year has been.
By assigning positive or negative values to these metrics, the checklist could allow one to conclude whether the year has been net positive, neutral, or net negative, corresponding to having been well-lived, uneventful, or squandered, respectively.
The process calls for an honest self-assessment. One has to recognize that there is no upside to fooling oneself in this exercise.
Depending on individuals, the outcomes may vary from one attribute to another. Efforts could then be directed to those areas that require attention by the individual concerned in order to live well the following year.
Take the self-assessment test further down.
Building a checklist together
Included in this article is a proposed draft checklist, to get the ball rolling.
The intent is for SilverStreak readers to ponder, comment, amend, and expand as necessary.
With your active participation, we could produce an improved version of the checklist by early 2023.
The finalized inaugural checklist could be used in a pilot survey among SilverStreak readers to test its usability.
The data collected from the pilot survey will be seen as initial conditions to be used for comparison in the future.
I try to present the metrics in the checklist with some levity, in a departure from the cold hard format usually associated with questionnaires.
The truth is, a light-hearted approach is probably more in tune with the mindset of us seniors.
Chances are the checklist would require multiple iterations before the metrics receive an approval by consensus. That is perfectly desirable.
Take the self-assessment test further down.
Analysis
The checklist comprises four sections representing four attributes deemed to have a bearing on how well one manages one’s personal life in a year. These are as follows:
A combined score for the four sections could also be obtained to provide an overall analysis.
As scoring is on the basis of year-on-year comparison, these ratings should only be entered when significant changes have been noticed between metrics for the year of assessment and the previous year.
Do we know what is real?
As an ardent student of laws of nature, I am particularly interested in one of the most amazing discoveries of quantum physics, and that is: Reality only exists when it is observed.
If anything, the proposed checklist enables users to take a close look at ourselves and what we did in the past year.
Besides the fact that some of us would like to forget what happened for personal reasons, it is probably true that events of the past year mostly remain hazy and unresolved in our recollection.
Therefore, the checklist can be a tool that allows us to examine in some detail things that help define who we are in real life. And the next logical consideration would be what we would like to do about it.
Referring again to laws of nature, life is a series of events that occur in space and time.
While we have to accept that the past and present cannot be undone, the future is still up for grabs. For seniors, each year well-lived deserves another good year ahead, and another, and another….
Let’s all find out for ourselves how well we have lived, and celebrate each well-lived year as it comes to pass.
Do take the self-assessment and share it with others who may find it useful.
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How well have I lived in the year 2022?

1 / 25

Category: Health & Fitness

1. Health indicators: blood pressure, cholesterol level, heart rate, and Body Mass Index (BMI)
(I go to ridiculous lengths to ensure that these indicators stay within the normal range.)

2 / 25

Category: Health & Fitness

2. Agility: Ability to walk, lift, and bend
(I don't need help to move about independently.)

3 / 25

Category: Health & Fitness

3. Mental health: Emotional stability, alertness, and good general spirit
(I try not to worry unnecessarily. As Mark Twain once said: "I have a lot of worries in my life, most of which have never happened.")

4 / 25

Category: Health & Fitness

4. Sleep: Quality of sleep
(I sleep soundly most days, and do not have to make frequent trips to the toilet at night.)

5 / 25

Category: Health & Fitness

5. Hearing: Hearing function for both ears
(I hear well generally when I want to, though I may not always listen.)

6 / 25

Category: Health & Fitness

6. Sight: Near and far vision, colour perception
(I often see things I am not supposed to see, and my world is still in vivid colours.)

7 / 25

Category: Health & Fitness

7. Communication: Speaking, writing, body language
(I speak, write and gesture well enough to be understood by those with whom I choose to engage.)

8 / 25

Category: Health & Fitness

8. Exercise: Gym work-out, sports, games
(I maintain an exercise routine and play sports that are age-appropriate - unless challenged.)

9 / 25

Category: Health & Fitness

9. Appetite: Food and beverage consumption
(I still hanker for food and drinks and enjoy my favourite cuisines.)

10 / 25

Category: Health & Fitness

10. Toilet habits: Bladder and bowel habits
(My internal waste disposal system still functions as designed.)

11 / 25

Category: Personal Growth

1. Hobbies: Favourite activities of pleasure through the years
(I have to tone down on some activities but continue to pursue those that are still age-appropriate.)

12 / 25

Category: Personal Growth

2. New skills: Skills not available or not accesible in earlier years
(I have tried to acquire new skills in arts, science, and technologies, and achieved some success.)

13 / 25

Category: Personal Growth

3. New habits: New ways of behaving or doing things (e.g. hygiene, etiquette, sleep pattern)
(I've developed some good habits that I wished I had known earlier, to be less of a pain to others.)

14 / 25

Category: Personal Growth

4. Attitude: Way of thinking or feeling about things
(I am astonished that I am capable of being kinder, more generous, thoughtful and ready to forgive.)

15 / 25

Category: Personal Growth

5. Worldviews: Philosophy of life or conception of the world
(I hold certain worldviews on political, religious, and social issues, some of which have evolved with time.)

16 / 25

Category: Social Engagement

1. Affiliation: Club, Committee, Community
(I remain an active member and do my share of work when I am needed.)

17 / 25

Category: Social Engagement

2. Outreach: Connecting to society at large
(I continue to expand my circle of friends and associates, and they have brightened my days.)

18 / 25

Category: Social Engagement

3. Mending fences: Repairing relationships
(I try to make peace with people with whom I did not see eye-to-eye over the years; it has been therapeutic.)

19 / 25

Category: Social Engagement

4. Obligations: Social activities that one cannot decline without being offensive
(I attend weddings, wakes, funerals, family outings - although not always whole-heartedly.)

20 / 25

Category: Social Engagement

5. Care of Environment: Environment activism
(I follow sustainability issues and do what I can to help save the planet for the future of mankind.)

21 / 25

Category: Contribution to Family and Society

1. Charity work: Donations and providing free services
(I donate to good causes and volunteer my services when opportunities arise. I could do more.)

22 / 25

Category: Contribution to Family and Society

2. Counselling and mentoring: Advising and coaching the young about life and career
(I provide counselling when there is a demand, although I sometimes feel that I need counselling myself.)

23 / 25

Category: Contribution to Family and Society

3. Knowledge sharing: Willingness to share personal knowldege with others
(I readily share my professional knowledge and life experience with students, friends and associates.)

24 / 25

Category: Contribution to Family and Society

4. Innovation: Contributing new ideas
(I have my thinking cap on all the time, but inspirations are few and far between.

25 / 25

Category: Contribution to Family and Society

5. Nation building: Public and private-sector efforts in nation building
(I support in my own way any national effort to strengthen and defend our country.)

The information, material and views contained in this article are entirely that of the author.
This questionnaire is an original piece of work by Dr. Yeoh Teng Kwong.
For permission to reproduce the questionnaire in connection with education, counselling, conducting a survey, or other purposes, please email Dr. Yeoh directly.

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