A centenarian celebrates life and living

We celebrated my mother-in-law’s centenary last week. She’s healthy in mind, body and spirit. She’s a constant reminder to us that we need to watch our health if only to be around to take care of her!

What’s amazing about her is that she continues to enjoy life and living! ‘Would you like me to be around some more?’ is her constant query to her grand- and great-grandchildren. And with a toothless smile she acknowledges their ‘yeah’s, adding, ‘only let me continue to be able to do my work. May God be pleased to keep me physically fit for this.’

At ages half hers, many of us find life purposeless, meaningless. We do not really have a desire to live any more. What, then, could be making this hundred year old woman feel so good about life, enough to want to live some more? Perhaps it is that she finds meaning in everything she does: She’s extremely methodical; orderly; punctiliously clean in her person; very engaged with life – wanting to know the latest gossip and adding some to it as well; proud that she can see well though she can’t hear much; eager to learn – not only about cooking new dishes, but about the latest gadgets and technologies: from mobile phones to e-mail!

Perhaps, the greatest lesson of her life is to be engaged with life, with every nuance of it; to find meaning in every little act we do every day, be it routine or a chore. Life’s meaning comes from what we make of it – it is not something to be sought and got as in a marketplace.

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