10 Minutes with an Elder

This morning I spoke with my Aunt in Edmonton. She turned 80 yesterday. She is an immigrant from Austria, 60 years ago. She is one of the people that, without my knowing it, taught me a lot about simplicity that I now live.

I had intended to wish her a happy birthday, a happy new year, and to thank her and her husband for a holiday gift. What a surprise 10 minutes it turned out to be. Filled with simple gems of wisdom backed up by 80 years of living. I recognized the uniqueness — hearing an elder pour out great stuff — and immediately reached for pen and paper. I enjoyed her modest, light-hearted touch. “That must be someone else that is 80; I’m not that old.”

Simple, powerful gifts to start this day. And simple, powerful practices for life in wellness.

  • “Enjoy every day. The rest you can’t control.”
  • “Stay healthy. The rest falls into place.”
  • “We don’t need fancy clothes or fancy food. Just being together is priceless.” (Referencing a party that will happen tomorrow to honor her birthday, as well as my Grandmother who turned 89 on the same day).
  • “People emphasize too much the things in their lives and forget real living.”

I smiled as we ended with our welcome to see each other again this year — “make sure you look after yourself. Don’t skip your vegetables and fruits.”

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