I once wrote about Edna Cornelius, the self-taught artist, who had a zest for living. I made the statement (or at least tried to imply) that when I grew up and older that I wanted to be just like her. She lived until she was ninety-seven and to loosely quote (grown-up) Walter from the movie, Second Hand Lions, "She really lived!" She really did know how to live, and she found the secret to living well as we age. We call them Edna's Secrets/Rules and borrowing this from my husband's website on Edna, I share them with all.
From Rob: I first met Edna when she was only 90. She was bright and cheery with a
quick sense of humor. As a volunteer, she often went to the Senior
Center to play bridge. As she said, it was her way to help out the "older
people." She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Fairborn.
When the Health Ministries committee was making plans for a local health
fair, we decided to offer educational presentations in addition to the
normal blood pressure and cholesterol screening. Someone suggested
that we could have a discussion on aging. The topic resonated with the
group who then had to think of a possible presenter.
I suggested Edna Cornelius. Everyone laughed, and then the group went
silent. "Why not?" someone asked. Within minutes we had come to the
unanimous conclusion that Edna would be fantastic. She seemed to have
the secret of good self-care and nurtured a zest for life. Best of all, Edna
said "Yes!" She later shared with me her second thoughts, but she did
plan her words well. She asked her physician what she should say, and
he agreed with the rest of us, "Just tell us what you think about your life
and how to live." The church sponsored several classes that day, but
Edna's was standing-room only. From what I can remember, this is what
Edna's Secrets (things you need to know when you grow older):
Edna rule #1: Make friends across all generations. Stay
interested in the lives of younger people. (When all your friends
are as old as you are, good news gets scarce. We all need to
hear good news!)
Edna rule #2: It's okay to be old-fashioned as long as you
understand that other people aren't.
Edna rule #3: If you like having company, be good company.
(Who wants to hear complaining all the time?)
Edna rule #4: You're going to need some help doing things so
when people offer to help you, say "Yes, thank you!" They'll feel
better by helping and you get a friend out of the process. (There's
nothing more frustrating than seeing someone who needs help but
won't accept it!)
Corollary to rule #4: When invited out - GO!
Edna rule #5: Watch your diet. Eat small meals, but eat on a
regular schedule (Edna had diabetes, and controlled it well.)
Someone pointed out how she always dressed so carefully and
looked so well-accessorized. The question was: "How do you get
around to shop?"
"Shopping takes a lot of time and energy. I really don't have
either. It's amazing what you can get through catalogues."
Edna rule #6: Keep sharp and figure out new ways to
accomplish the things you want and need. Bridge is great for
keeping the brain working. Don't be afraid to ask your friends.
Causes Nancy Smith Supports
Doctors without Borders
American Diabetes Association