Friday, November 6, 2015

A Rockstar at 100: Tips to Live By...

My grandma lived so gracefully.  I loved her dearly and have not really come to terms with the fact that she is not still living happily in her converted barn, doing her crosswords, and drinking her hot tea.  One thing I do know for sure, is that one doesn't get to 100 without doing some things right.  And I believe these are among the many reasons she lived so long and she loved so well...

1. She was always dressed.  As my Aunt Pam so eloquently said, "She was not a sweatpants and t-shirt kind of girl."  Grandma wore a blouse and slacks (that's what they call them, right?) every day.  When it was cold outside she wore a cardigan with a pretty pin.  She wore beautiful jewelry, much of it given to her by her grandchildren, and she always knew who had given her the different pieces.  One of my favorite conversations after Grandma passed away was in her bedroom.  As we looked through her jewelry box, remembering pins and necklaces she wore, I mentioned how awesome it was that Grandma always looked so put together and my mom said she always reminded her of Queen Elizabeth.  I dug a little bit into the archives of Queen Elizabeth and came up with this...

http://www.elleuk.com/fashion/celebrity-style/queen-elizabeth-ii-s-style-through-the-ages

"From a regal childhood to her years as a newly coronated Queen and young mother, to her current status as the revered figurehead of the Commonwealth, the most impressive feature of the Queen’s dress sense may be its consistency..."


I don't know about you, but when I put some thought into my outfit, brush my hair, and put on makeup, I hold my head a little higher, feel more confident, and am generally more productive.  And I would love someone to say that about me--"She's just not a t-shirt and sweatpants kind of girl.  She is always dressed."  I can certainly say that our grandma was consistently well-dressed, and I admire her for that.

2. Grandma kept her mind sharp.  One of my earliest memories of Grandma is her doing a puzzle with me.  One of my sister's is her playing Aggravation.  She could do the weekly crossword puzzle in about 5 minutes flat.  The weekend puzzle may have taken a bit longer.  She was a voracious reader as well.  Often my aunt would go to the library to check out a stack of books for Grandma, only to get home and find out she had already read them all.  When she started having trouble seeing the print in the books, Aunt Pam would check out the large print books for Grandma.   At night, Grandma enjoyed the channels she could get on her old tv.  Her children and grandchildren tried to buy her a new tv many times, but she always refused, not wanting them to spend the money on a tv.  I remember watching a lot of Murder She Wrote reruns when we visited, but I heard she also enjoyed Judge Judy and wrestling (what?  There was nothing else on.)

The puzzles, books, and even her choices of tv shows kept her connected to the world, and helped her stay in tune.  They also kept the wheels in her head turning and her mind sharp.  When we visited her last summer for her birthday, she was still sharp as a tack...at 100.

And, I saved the best for last...

3. She had an amazing sense of humor.  When asked by her nurse at the hospital (in for a blood pressure check), her secret to longevity, she explained, "I am preserved in sugar!"  And none of us would doubt that.  She loved her sweets.  My dad liked to tease at the end of a meal that they didn't have any dessert in the house, and she would always look at him like he'd lost his mind.  To her dinner was followed by dessert, just as thunder follows lightning.  One of my sister's and my favorite memories is Grandma and our Great Aunt Bea Bea getting the giggles one night when we were on a family trip to Disney World.  To hear the two of them laughing until they cried about something completely silly made us laugh until we cried!  To this day, my sister, my mom, and I can dissolve into fits of hysterical laughter over the tiniest of things.  And I always think of Grandma and her giggles.



My grandma lived a happy 100 years, filled with family, friends, and love.  She got dressed every day, engaged her mind, and laughed a lot.  I think I'll follow her lead.  

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