Fuzzy’s Secret Recipe for a Long and Happy Life
I don’t think I’ve got my grandma’s whole recipe here, but I’m pretty sure these are two of the main ingredients:
Age is not a number – it’s an attitude.
When my grandma was 17, she went to visit her grandfather. One day, as they were walking through a watermelon patch on his farm, he asked her, “How old are you now, Fuzzy?” (He probably didn’t call her Fuzzy; but that was her father’s nickname for her. Since I’m not going to tell you her name, I’ll be calling her Fuzzy too.)
“Seventeen,” she answered.
“Me too!” he said with a playful laugh.
“You are not!”
“Well, my age has a seven and one in it…that’s the same thing, isn’t it?” A moment later, he bent over and picked out a watermelon, cracked it open on a rock, and shared the “heart” – the really sweet part right in the center – with her right there in the field. Her grandfather – my great-great-grandfather – lived long enough to hold Fuzzy’s eldest grandchild. He was in his mid-nineties when he died.
My grandmother took his lesson to heart – just because the world says you’re old doesn’t mean you have to believe it. She still tells me that she feels like a seventeen year old on the inside – it’s just her body that disagrees.
Embrace useful technology.
Fuzzy was born in 1927 – eighty-five years ago. Her family had a vehicle, but I’m fairly certain it never went faster than thirty miles an hour. Of course, that was a huge advantage over the alternative forms of transport available at the time. Commercial planes existed, but somehow I don’t think she saw many, living in the small towns of Arizona and New Mexico. Telephones – the old-fashioned kind that hung on the wall – were also a rare commodity. In short, life in the Southwest more closely resembled the previous thousands of years of human history than it did our current world.
When I was twelve or so, I received my first computer – a Commodore 64. I loved it and couldn’t wait to demonstrate it to anyone who came within ten feet of me. Grandma, however, was the only one who saw its possibilities. “Could I do bookwork on that thing?” she asked (she always had a lot of bookkeeping, since she and Grandpa loaned money to people).
I remember telling her I was pretty sure it could; we’d just have to work out the details using the spreadsheet program. Before long, Grandma had her first Commodore as well. I showed her how to use it and helped her set up the formulas for her bookkeeping. Before long, she was handling all of her books with the use of a computer. As the years have passed, she has updated to the latest technology as it became available. She now does her bookkeeping using MS Money.
When I received my first Kindle, I couldn’t wait to show it to her. I was sure that she, as a lifelong reader, would be amazed and thrilled at the possibilities. At first, she wasn’t so sure. But, after a few months of thinking about it, she decided she’d like to have one. Now, you couldn’t pry that thing from her hands with a crowbar.
I won’t say she accepts every techno-gadget that comes down the pike. Though she has a cell phone, she rarely uses it. But if she can find a way that a gadget would be useful in her life, she doesn’t hesitate to incorporate it.
Not too long ago she called me, excited about a video showing all the latest technological developments – things like windows that only let in the light after your alarm goes off and glass counters on which you can set your smart phone and drag information from the device to the larger surface. “I can’t wait to do that!”
“But, Grandma,” I answered, “it’s going to be a few years before that sort of technology is common.”
“I guess I’ll just have to live to be 100, then!”
I sure hope she does – and then a hundred more.