Three days ago, while shopping for Hurricane Irene, my mother and I crossed paths with a pleasant, and most vibrant 90-year-old woman. Her spirit was so warm and welcoming that we stood and spoke for all of 20 minutes in the middle of the bread isle. She showed us pictures of her children and grandchildren, and we stood there and listened… yes, all while shopping at BJ’s. I became so enthralled with her stories of how she and her husband had hosted parties for the likes of Frank Sinatra and other well-known people in society back her day. Her stories and photos revealed that she was a woman of great wealth, not just financially, but in spirit.
In mid conversation, I was moved to ask her the question that inspired this post, “What has been the philosophy that has guided your life to this very moment?” She chuckled a bit, and then proceeded to say,”I’ve always loved to laugh, and make the people around me have a good time.” This statement made perfect sense in terms of the warm connection that I felt as we stood there chatting amongst loaves of bread.
She then mentioned that she had never had any major illness throughout her life, and that she chose not to partake in the likes of smoking, drinking, or any drugs because she chose to treat her body well.
This 90-year-old woman, who introduced herself as Virginia P., had more life in her than some 20-somethings that I know. In fact, after seeing the story of a frail 90-year-old Nancy Reagan taking a fall on the same day that I met Virgina, I realized that it really does matter HOW WELL YOU CHOOSE TO LIVE YOUR LIFE. Virginia may have been 90, but she was far from frail. She walked and spoke with such poise and confidence that I would have never guessed her to be as old as she said she was. She had no help of a cane or walker, nor did she need it. Virginia had “mad SWAG,” as the hip-hoppers would say… And I was “diggin’ it.”
Before we parted ways, I made sure to tell her how beautiful she was inside and out, and how much I look forward to aging as graciously as she has. When I was done, she thanked me and looked me keenly in the eye and said,”You make sure you treat your mother well, because you only get one… and you both are very beautiful… take care honey.”
That encounter has inspired me in more ways than one. But for this post, the lesson has been that how well you live has less to do with age, and more about how “ALIVE,” joyous, and peaceful the spirit within you is. Especially when your aim is to always let it shine through.