Prime Time for Women, a nonprofit that promotes healthy aging through research-based programs that foster…
As a member of Prime Time for Women, where every woman’s story is valued and appreciated, I was recently invited to write an article for PTFW’s October Newsletter. Right away, I liked the idea as I’ve been told that I tell a good story, but didn’t have the foggiest idea of what I would write about.
Reminiscing is defined as joyfully indulging in recollections of past events. At 78, a woman who likes herself a lot, it felt good to take a trip down memory lane. It was meaningful to recall and record who and how I was as a little girl, teen, parent, and employee. Reflecting on the past, I had a new appreciation for the influential people and past events that helped me become the happy woman I am today.
I think the families we are born into shape us in ways we may never understand. I was the last of six children, born when my mother was 44 and my Dad was 63. Of my five siblings, the three oldest were already living away from home, making their own lives. That left my sister Bernie, who would graduate a year after I was born, and my sister Ag, who was 11 yrs. old. She was the baby until I came along, and everyone thought she’d be very jealous. She was anything but, and everyone said I was more her baby than mother’s. She was my sister, my mother, my friend, my mentor, and my idol, for my whole life. Without her, I would not be the person I am today.
Not everyone has a life ambition but from the time I was 6 years old, I wanted to be a secretary. When I was in school I had many memorable teachers in elementary and middle school but my all-time favorite was Mrs. Will. She was my shorthand, typing, and office practice teacher in high school. The other girls in the class used to tease me because I was “the teacher’s pet”. I DEFINITELY was, but that was because I worked really hard and had the top skills in all three classes! After all, my sister Ag’s advice, which I still follow to this day was, “Always do the best you can at whatever you’re doing.” I wanted to be a secretary, so being the best I could be was of utmost importance.
I was recently thinking about the best gifts I have received over my life and realized there are so many different kinds of gifts: 1) Gifts from God, 2) Material gifts, and 3) Advice freely given with no expectation that it be followed. The absolute best gifts of all would be my son and my grandchildren because they are gifts from God.
Over my life, I have received many wonderful material gifts but the best one would have to be my first camera…a Brownie Target six-20 box camera, when I was 12 from my sister Ag. I’ve had a camera in my hands ever since. I was even looking at taking up photography full-time at one point, but that got derailed with the death of my 2nd husband. I still love to take pictures though, as is evident from my Facebook page.
The best gift of advice came from my Dad and it has truly been “the gift that keeps on giving.” My Dad went through many major traumas and crises in his life, but I never heard him complain about anything…even when he was in pain. His perseverance and determination have always inspired me and I’ve tried to live up to his motto, “When life knocks you down, pull yourself up by the bootstraps and keep going.” Thanks, Dad!
Speaking of advice, I sometimes wonder, “What advice would I give my younger self?” After a lot of thought, I think I would say, “Take better care of yourself. Eat better, exercise more, and when things don’t work out, it’s not the end of the world….only a new beginning.” Believe me, I know, sometimes advice sounds so good but it is so hard to put into practice!
I’ve learned that an important part of being healthy involves staying connected with family and friends. I have been blessed with a large loving family and many friends. I do the best I can to keep in touch with all of them….wherever they are. (Some are overseas, and some are at various locations around the U.S.) For those that are local, I try to get together with them as often as possible. I am an active member of my church and I love to participate in Prime Time for Women’s weekly Walking to Wellness program, walk around my neighborhood, and hike when I can find someone willing to do so with a slow old lady 😊. Staying healthy is a bit of a challenge, but sticking with my new diet is helping and I do try my best to follow my doctor’s guidance, as should we all!