I have a beautiful 97-year young client and she is an amazing testimony to a life lived with a consistent ‘attitude of gratitude’. The quality of her life is determined by the quality of her perspective and the minute she wakes up in the morning she expresses her appreciation of all that she has and how lucky she is.
She doesn’t fall into the negativity trap and when her radio goes on each morning and reality kicks in there is always the temptation to adopt a level of complacency towards the beauty that surrounds her. She, however, gets caught up in her mind and the mental chatter distracts her – ‘I should get out of bed’, ‘I need to get up and go’, ‘ I have to get back to how I was before’.
When friends visit and drench up her 17-hour ordeal in the bathtub where she suffered a heart attack – she avoids the temptation of embracing negativity, unpacking her thoughts and staying there, as she has an uncanny ability to change the subject and respectively turn away from the fear that conversation feeds on like a hungry vampire!
Too many times people spend all their energy looking back into the past and experiencing unnecessary pain repeatedly and when you are afraid, your mindset contracts and future possibilities get distorted – without even knowing it she is able to effectively flip the switch and steer the conversation in a positive direction.
She has a wonderful group of friends streaming in and out of her home and their regular visits are a reflection of her kindness. Who you are is measured by how you make others feel and her appreciation of them, indirectly jump-starts the infamous ‘give and take cycle’.
Her kindness spreads like a virus and you cannot help but get caught up in her infectious demeanour. Gratefulness is the experience of the GreatFullness of life and she certainly lives life to the fullest. What I love as a carer in this companionship role is the privilege of learning about the way of life and the simplicity of the world in the 1930’s – organic lifestyles, freedom and carefree living.
When we are young we can’t seem to delay gratification and plug into career development and future security, but as we get older, we seek comfort in simple pleasures – friendships, the taste of good food and the warmth of sunlight on our faces.
“how we seek to spend our time may depend on how much time we perceive ourselves to have. When you are young and healthy, you believe you will live forever…But as your horizons contract – when you see the future ahead of you as finite and uncertain – your focus shifts to the here and now, to everyday pleasures and the people closest to you.” Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
What a blessing to live in the present – spending gorgeous mornings sitting and chatting in the sun, gazing over stretches of rolling farmland and listening to the peaceful sounds of nature – I am so grateful to have had this experience that has been infused with powerful reminders and countless lessons from an incredible soul.