My Grandmother, Dorothy, turned 103 last week. No, that’s not a typo. She was born in 1916 in Lethbridge, Alberta. She grew up in a middle-class family with one brother. She graduated high school and worked at Sears. My grandfather asked her to a dance when she was sixteen and he was fourteen (cheeky bugger!) and she said yes. They married after seven years of dating on November 11, 1940. He died four years ago, at the age of 97, in the year when they would have celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. They were together for more than 80 years. Everyone, including my doctor, told me that she would likely be dead in six months, their lives so intertwined that she literally could not go on with out him. And yet… here she still is.
I often get asked what the secret to her success is. My cheeky answer? Cocktails. But there’s some truth to that. I went to see her in October. It might be morbid, but at that age, it feels like every visit that I have with her will be the last. She keeps mostly to her bed, sleeping a lot, but when she’s awake, she enjoys watching the golf on TV (or any sports really) and she is always awake for her 4 PM cocktail. We chatted for a bit and she asked me about my life. She talked about how lucky she was to be able to be in her own house (with help) and to have people come visit her. Right on schedule at 4, her helper brought her her rum and ginger ale (it used to be coke, not sure how the change happened). She lifted her glass, took a sip, and said “That’s delicious!”
And there it was folks, the epiphany. The secret to how she’s lived this long, the reason she’s outlasted my grandfather etc: she is still able to find joy in simple things, including a drink she’s had every day for most of her adult life.
Imagine if we all approached life this way? [Read more…]