The more I focus on life and truly being in it, the more I learn about myself. A couple of weeks ago I was privileged to have a wonderful older lady sit next to me at a market. Her friend wandered off to get their coffee, and my husband was getting ours, so it was the perfect opportunity to start up a conversation. And boy am I glad I did.
Starting off the conversation by asking her if she lived locally, she said she was about 30-minutes away. She had picked her friend up that morning and driven them both to the market which was lovely. It was her next sentence that astounded me. She said, I'll be 90 at the end of the year. Needless to say I was gobsmacked. She looked absolutely amazing, and about 75 at most. Her small frame was agile, her eyes bright and clear and her attitude incredible.
We continued our conversation, her telling me that she had three children in different parts of the country, one close by; that she still drives and takes her elderly friends out for the day.
For some unknown reason I have always been intrigued by centenarians, as well as those in later life. I love their wisdom, knowledge and vast life experience. Asking her what her secret was to a long and healthy life, she simply replied, I keep myself busy; I worked until I was 68.
What I learned from this encounter was, once again, that life is so precious. And, that keeping myself busy and focused is important. As long as I'm well enough to do so of course. I'm a great believer that rest is equally as important.
It's about having a purpose in life I think. She has her children, her grandchildren, her friends and interests. For me, it's family, friends, my great love of writing and helping others, my voluntary work, and keeping all of those passions alive throughout my life.
None of us know how long we have, but talking to someone who had travelled far on this journey called life, was inspiring beyond words. She gave freely of herself sharing her path with me, a complete stranger, and I did the same. It was a heartfelt connection, one of those true blessings in life that seem to come out of nowhere. Or do they?