Aging Well Partners
- Jul 13
- 3 min
The Five Wonders of Wellness
I can’t think of a better role model of wellness than Annette, the 107- year-old I had the good fortune to meet. That’s no typo. She is ONE HUNDRED and SEVEN years old and thriving! Her mindset, outlook on life, and excitement for each day she has on earth is contagious and inspiring. Here’s her take on wellness.
WHAT A LADY
I first saw her on her comfy brown recliner, watching a home improvement show. I thought she was 80 years-old based on her healthy collar length hair that gleamed a silvery white. She had a sparkle in her eyes when she looked up and grinned at me. She radiated a joy of contentment. I don’t know how else to describe it. She had a stuffed cat tucked under her arm like a pillow, and she made eye contact and greeted the two strangers that entered the living room like they were old friends. She called out a hello and how-you-doing our way. I had to look behind me, to see if someone she knew had walked in. They hadn’t. She was happy to see us! She was thrilled that we were chatting with her. I think she was more charmed by my smiling hello, than I was with her zest for life. We were instantly best life-long friends and it had only been five minutes.
I quickly peppered her caregivers with questions, who by the way are shining examples of passion, commitment, love of family, and the aging population. Their enthusiasm for their business of taking care of aging adults to their last breath, was nothing short of humbling to see.
I inquired; “Can She walk?” Yes.
“Does she have dementia” No.
“Are Annette’s family and friends around and do they visit?” Yes.
“Can she communicate?” She won’t stop talking! Some residents get annoyed with her constant chit-chat that we’ve had to move chairs around.
“So, what’s her secret?” Almost in unison her caregivers sang:
- Surround yourself with good people
- Never hold a grudge
- Be happy
- Laugh a lot
- Keep moving “She was a dancer most of her life,” one caregiver added.
I had heard this from other centenarians. Hmmm. Once again, the formula seemed simple, and a common theme was starting to resonate. This is attainable if we really really want these Five Wonders of Wellness, but so many struggle to make wellness a priority in life. Perhaps they do not believe this is available to them? We would have to give up our grudges, leave jobs and relationships that don’t work, get off the couch, find the laughter of life in simple everyday moments, and seek out happiness. These aren’t just slogans; this is the recipe of a sweet life that works. Write it down.
DECISIONS & SECRETS
Annette lost three husbands in her lifetime, most of her immediate family members, and I would guess most of her generation is probably long gone. She could have plenty to be sad about and be lonely. She has of course experienced loss and no doubt suffering. She was born in 1915, went through two world wars, the Great Depression, Korean War, Vietnam, and the list goes on. The world is very different now with a new set of modern day challenges. Yet she chooses to stick around, and surround herself with good people, never holds a grudge, she keeps moving, choses to be happy, and laughs a whole lot. Seems wellness is a decision in our own hands. What are we waiting for?
I don’t think her age is as relevant as what she’s done with those 107 years. Some of us will have 40, 50 60 ,80 years, on this planet? It’s not the number of years that counts. It’s how we choose to spend those years that makes our life so fulfilling and content. Make every year count and you will have no regrets on that last day you take a breath.
I’ve seen a lot of regret these last 8 years I’ve been in the senior industry. Being around people the last months and days of their lives, I saw many who were consumed with regret. I’ll share another secret, when you’re gone, and your family and friends are grieving…. they’ll take comfort if they know that you had a full and joyful life. Having wonderful memories of your life to reminisce about, is a gift to them. The tears of sadness will flow to happiness and hopefully, some fantastic belly laughs as they remember you and all the happiness you brought to them.
I challenge you to take time once a week and think about one thing you can do or change to be happy, release a grudge, keep moving, surround yourself with good people, and laugh a lot! I mean a lot, like tears stream down-your-face, turn red, fall-over-laugh. You’ll have no regrets. I promise.
Life is Beautiful. Here’s to Aging Well.
Jacqui Clark is a Certified Senior Advisor™ (CSA™), consultant with Living Coastal Senior Resources, and co-founder of Aging Well Partners. She is an industry leading living-and-aging well expert, and a respected communications specialist. She’s lived in San Diego for 35 years, much of that in Carlsbad where she and her husband live with their two daughters. Find Jacqui at www.agingwellpartners.com