Commercials with grandparents who look like their greatest form of excitement is knitting, have always rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it’s because I’m 41, and sensitive, or maybe it’s because the grandparents I see — my parents, and my friends’ parents — are vital and active. My stepmother is so fit and energetic, when any of her grandchildren have a birthday party, she is up and out-dancing everyone, even thrashing around in the ball pit with all the youngsters.
Age really is just a state of mind, and that’s why I wasn’t surprised to read in USA Today about five women who’ve lived into their 100s and beyond and who credit their longevity to keeping active and living healthy lives. We’re talking active with a capital “A” — 116-year-old Misao Okawa is the oldest living woman in Japan, but the statistic that is sure to amaze you — she was still doing leg squats at 102!
Meet 116-year-old Jeralean Talley, who likes to visit the casinos, go bowling, was mowing her own lawn at 102, and still goes on a yearly fishing trip! Her diet, sleep habits, and just plain keeping busy have allowed her to enjoy the thrill of spending time with her great-great grandchildren.
Gertrude Weaver is the second-oldest person in the world. How does she do it? She takes strength from bible study, socializing with friends and relatives, and wheelchair dancing. All of which she does happily because not being able to get up doesn’t mean she has to stop moving.
There are two more women who were born in the 1800s cited in this article, and they all reinforce the importance of not sitting back and letting life happen. Oh, sure, some of them like their bbq chicken and drink brandy, but that’s also key. It’s about moderation, living your life to the fullest, and that’s an important message for parents and their children.
One day I want to be that grandmother who is still partying like it’s 1999, but for now, I’ll settle for doing everything I can to stay fit and have fun, and if I’m lucky, kick my 7-year-old’s butt in a game of tag. Keeping her moving and helping her develop physical literacy now hopefully will mean that she’ll play in the ball pit with her own grandchildren someday.