Affirmation: I embrace and savor all joyful experiences.
My mother-in-law turned 91 this year. Have you ever wondered what you’d be like in your old age, or if you’ll even have an old age? (That’s a whole other topic.) My mom, Margaret is 89 this year. My mother-in-law is named Yolanda. They both live independently and are lucky enough to live in adult communities that offer not only a myriad of services but easy access to community. They are also in very good health.
My husband and I traveled to see Yolanda for her birthday. She lives near Sandy’s twin brother, Billy and his wife. I spent the weekend soaking in the joy that Yolanda eludes. She had counted her birthday cards and read each one to us and told us about the people who sent them, if we didn’t’ already know them. If we did know them, she told us about them anyway. She told us how wonderful they all are. How kind and talented and smart they are. It’s such fun to listen to her take pleasure in her family and friends. She’s one of the most non-judgmental, unconditionally loving people I have ever met. I’ve been blessed by having her for a mentor and a friend. I’ve learned so much from this woman who readily accepted me as her daughter simply because her son loved me.
We moved away from the New York area very soon after her first granddaughter was born. Melissa was six weeks old and we moved to a farm town five hours away. They must have been so unsettled by our decision. But, they never let on, neither she nor Sandy’s dad, Joe. They simply showed up any chance they got bringing home cooked meals and gifts galore. I was young. I was a little defensive about keeping my own space, my own house and I didn’t fully appreciate what a gift I was being given.
She now lives in Savannah. She moved there right before her 90th birthday. We drove her to the airport; she got on a plane and began a whole new life. I was in awe. I can only hope that when I’m 90 I will have the gumption to make a lifestyle change, of my own choice.
I have read that most people remember their negative or sad experiences better than they remember their positive, happy experiences. It seems we have a tendency to dwell on the negative and sad and to simply notice the joyful experiences but not to absorb them. The advice given was that we take more notice of the uplifting events; that we let them soak into our cellular structure by savoring them, not letting them slip by unvalued.
There are so many lessons to learn about life from Yolanda. I’m sure you have people in your life from whom you too have learned a lot. But, the one I took away from sharing this celebration with her was how important it is to savor the joys of our lives. I believe it will color our attitude, our health, our quality of life not only now but for the rest of our lives and then maybe we too can be 89 or 91 or 100+ and giggle and enjoy all the wonderful moments and celebrations of our lives.