Just a number
This mother of two is 61 and she is not letting her age take a hold of her. It is more like she’s got a hold of her age!
BY: Eleanor Yap
Age is really just a number and no one better epitomises this than 61-year-old Mary Lim, who was a participant in the Mrs Singapore pageant in 1998 at the age of 50! She has not let her age get her down … frankly like wine as it matures, Lim is getting better as she ages! Surprisingly, she did not use to be as active physically or bothered to contribute to the community in her younger days as work and family were her main focus. However, that has all changed.
She believes wholeheartedly in exercising and has a grueling schedule each week. She uses her gym equipment in her house once a week for an hour and on other days, she swims, cycles, skips and does tai-chi. To vary her exercise routine, sometimes she does half-an-hour to an hour non-stop swinging her two strings of wooden ball hula-hoops (one string weighing 3kg). “Exercise helps build our health. Good health does not come to you by sitting down. You need to work hard to earn your health. If you are in good health when you are old, you are still able to do the things that you like to do. For me, I want to continue to do the things that I like without being interfered by ill-health and age for as long as I can maintain it.”
This exercise fanatic has done the Swissôtel Vertical Marathon three times, running up 1,336 steps of the 73-storey hotel. Last November, Lim, who was the oldest woman in the Vertical Marathon, finished around 22 minutes and came in sixth in the Women’s Above 50 category. “To practice, I would climb up the steps of my block of flats which is 12-storeys high. Go down on the lift and then climb up again six times.”
She also was once a skipping rope champion, where she broke a record of skipping for 45 minutes non-stop without a single trip. “I did not believe I could beat the previous year’s champion who was a blind man,” she smiled. She did not do so badly either in the previous two years of the National Skipping Competition as she came in once as the 1st runner-up, followed by 2nd runner-up the next year.
She has participated in the NAPFA (National Physical Fitness Award) Challenge, which includes doing one-minute of sit-ups, broad jump, sit-and-reach, chin-ups, 4x10m shuttle run and a 2.4km run/walk, and took home the gold medal 11 times. And did we mention that she also bowls and cycles too. If you feel exhausted just by listening to her various physical achievements, for Lim, she has no plans on stopping there and wants to continue challenging her body and mind.
Though she works a part-time job to get additional income, she makes time to give back to the community. She has been a clown for underprivileged children for two years, the most recent time being December of last year for 300 children. She has also “clowned” around at elderly homes and been a volunteer storyteller at the National Library Board, reading to low-income children. In addition, every month she leads a group of volunteers to give free hair-cutting services at an elderly home. “It is about inspiration and positive energy, and that is why I do it.” She has also donated blood 18 times as she sees this as a “priceless gift of life”. “I am a Jack of all trades. I find life more fulfilling doing all those meaningful things. No matter how much I do for my family and the community, I don’t feel tired and feel more energised!”
One would think when you reach a certain age, it would mean slowing down. But for Lim, it only means speeding up and enjoying life!