I am lucky enough to know someone who just turned 100 years old this week.
She’s my mother-in-law, Gwyndelon, born in 1916.
Let that just sink in.
She lives independently, has an active life, and can have great conversations about a ton of topics.
We’re celebrating with a big party with family and friends this weekend,
and just in case I’m asked to “say a few words,”
I thought it best to get my thoughts down in writing first.
Gwyn has seen more in her lifetime than you can possibly imagine.
She lived through the Great Depression, and some of her daily habits still reflect this.
She does not easily throw away even a small scrap of aluminum foil that could be reused.
If something is not absolutely necessary, she has difficulty buying it, especially for herself.
It’s very easy to spoil her.
She has taken great care of herself, mentally and physically throughout her life.
She has no major health problems and only slight age-related memory issues.
She always ate very well, even when eating salads and green vegetables wasn’t the thing to do.
She has always walked several miles a day, even now with a rolling walker that she has just acquired in the past year, to stay active.
She has always done the newspaper crossword puzzle, and read 6-7 books a week.
She was a working woman back when that also wasn’t the norm in the 1930s and 1940s,
beginning as a telephone operator, connecting one party to another with physical lines,
and later learning how to use the first computers doing data entry for the employment office in the state of Florida.
She’s simply amazing and I’m so happy to know her and to be able to be a part of her life.
Here Are A Few Things I’ve Learned from Gwyn:
1. You get to TAKE your exercise.
She was the first person to talk about exercise without using the words “have to” or “workout.”
She always said “I got to take my exercise today!” as if it was a gift she received from some generous source.
I thought at first, that’s crazy…TAKE your exercise? It’s “I have to exercise.
I really need to go workout.” Nope.
You get to TAKE your exercise…and don’t miss out!
She completely changed my perspective on this.
2. It’s always a good time for coffee and a donut.
One of our favorite outings when we have a moment is to make a Dunkin Donuts run
for a french vanilla latte and a glazed donut.
She will never say no, because…it’s always a good time for coffee and a donut.
Of course, this may be why we get to TAKE our exercise!
Gwyn is always up for fun, a party, an outing, a trip.
Coffee and donuts…always.
3. Everything is pretty.
If you spend any time with Gwyn…any time at all…I mean even five minutes…
you will quickly discover that her favorite phrase is “Isn’t that pretty?”
It is applied to almost everything she sees.
I used to think she just said it indiscriminately.
But now, I believe she really does see beauty in everything.
Lights, yards, a plate of lovingly prepared food, our Christmas tree,
my daughter’s songs, the store windows downtown, the pattern of the carpet,
the houses and buildings lining the streets.
I don’t always see the prettiness where and when she does,
but that’s okay.
Maybe if I make to 100, I’ll see it. I hope I will.
Happy Birthday Gwyndelon!
Many happy returns, with love from your daughter-in-law and donut-run partner.