An Old Lady’s 5 Life Principles

30 May

The older I get, the more I enjoy jokes about aging. Sometimes they hurt a bit, but they’re still funny. Such as:

  • “My memory’s not as sharp as it used to be. Also, my memory’s not as sharp as it used to be.”
  • An elderly woman was driving down the road with her friend. When she went through a red light, her friend didn’t say anything, but after she sailed through the second light, the friend exclaimed, “Hilda! Don’t you realize you just went through two red lights?”

“Oh,” Hilda said, “was I driving?”

I’m a little fascinated with old people. I hope to be one someday.

Misao Okawa

Misao Okawa

According to Wikipedia, in its article, “Oldest People,” the oldest male supercentenarian is Japan’s Jiroemon Kimura (still alive at 116 years in April, 2013).  Misao Okawa, at 115 years, is currently the oldest living female, also living in Japan. On a chart of old people, Misao is followed by five 113-year-olds living in the United States, and three more 113-year-olds in Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

The oldest person mentioned in the Bible is Methuseleh, at the age of 969 years, seven days before the beginning of the Great Flood. While there is much controversy surrounding his age, biblical literalists believe these were actual 969 solar years. His and other biblical characters’ longevity was possible, they say, because of the vapor-canopy protecting the earth and because sin’s influence became greater with subsequent generations, shortening the “eternal life” that man was created to enjoy “in the beginning.”

One modern supercentenarian, a lady named Besse Cooper, caught my eye.

BesseCooper_at118When Besse died in a Georgia nursing home last December (12-4-12) at 116 years old, she left behind a legacy of strength.

Jim Daly of Focus on the Family interviewed Besse’s son, Sidney Cooper, and discovered five possible reasons for her longevity, as conveyed by her son. I think she was a pretty wise woman!

1. Cultivate a Sense of Wonder. Besse thought of everything in life as a “wonderful gift,” Sidney said.

I recently stopped to notice a tiny flower pushing up through a crack in cement. I stared at it in wonder, and took a moment to cheer that flower on! How much better life would be if we took time to notice the beauties of creation, the goodness of God, the lesson in a difficulty.

2. Take in Stride What Comes Your Way. Sidney said his mom refused to worry, saying, “What good will it do you?”

Right! Worry does us no good. Neither does a critical, judgmental spirit. Or complaining. Recognizing the sovereignty of God has helped me take many more things in stride as I’ve grown older. Like Besse, I’m finding that foolish attitudes are counterproductive.

3. Read Your Bible. Ah Besse. That is a powerful one.

Sidney reported that up until Besse’s eyesight failed, three years before her passing, she read her Bible every day – especially the Psalms. No wonder she could take much of life “in stride.” She grew in wisdom. She likely learned to trust the Author. She knew what mattered.

4. Don’t Eat Junk Food. LOL! In the middle of so many serious thoughts, why this one? Because she was serious about her body’s health, not just having a healthy mind, healthy attitudes, and a healthy spirit! She advocated eating in moderation.

We all could be healthier with a balanced, nutritious diet. If our health fails, ministry may be more difficult, so this is important.

5. Mind Your Own Business. Another LOL moment for me. Getting into other people’s business just wasn’t Besse’s style, Sidney said, and she was better able to focus on managing the challenges in her own life.

My own Grandma used to say, “If people spent half as much time working on their own problems as they do on other people’s problems, they’d have a lot less problems!”

Do these ring true for you? Do you have another life principle that has guided your life?

[Photo of Misao Okawa, AFP; Photo of Besse Cooper from Focus on the Family’s community forum, 10-24-12]

– Dawn

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2 Responses to “An Old Lady’s 5 Life Principles”

  1. Gail June 7, 2013 at 11:32 pm #

    These are wonderful words of wisdom from a woman who knew what she was talking about. Thanks for sharing them. I’m also beginning to appreciate old people jokes. They make so much more sense to me now : )

    • Dawn Wilson June 7, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

      Me, too, Gail. And probably for the same reasons.

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