My Mother Taught Me That Living to 100 is All About Attitude

By April 17, 2016 May 2nd, 2018 Healthy Living, Inspiration, Women's Issues

Last updated on May 2nd, 2018 at 06:08 pm

My Mother_Aging with Attitude_Lil Golden at 100 years oldCan you imagine living to 100? With no conditions attached. No saying, “As long as I’m healthy” or “As long as I have all my senses.” No qualifications, either. “Only if the people I love live that long, too.” Just unconditionally saying “YES” to living to 100. Living is the keyword. So is the word “yes.”

I’m very fortunate to have my mother Lillian as a shining example of what is possible when it comes to living life fully and making it to 100. On March 2 she celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends and then on March 13, my brother Niel, my daughter Lani and I threw a birthday celebration party to honour her.

It’s funny when people ask me if someone who is 100 still has any friends. Just ask the 100-plus people who showed up for the party if it’s possible to have friends at 100.

Yes, it is, and lots of them. She laughs and says, “I guess people kind of like me.” I often joke with her that she has a more vibrant social life than I do.

My Mother the Outlier

When it comes to aging, my mother is an outlier. She is truly an inspiration of possibility when it comes to aging gracefully and remaining vital and alive. When you look into her endless blue eyes, you see what true vitality looks like. My mother is beautiful. She redefines what the word “beauty” means at any age.

We live in a culture that is obsessed with youthful beauty and because of this obsession, we rob ourselves of the great gift of wisdom and beauty that someone like my mother can teach us. The world seems focused on how the younger generation has much to teach the older generation because of their facility with technology. Maybe we’ve got that very wrong. My belief is that the lessons the older generation has to teach the younger generation are monumental in comparison.

We live in a culture that is obsessed with youthful beauty. Because of this obsession, we rob ourselves of the great gift of wisdom and beauty that getting older can teach us. #aging #wisdom #beautyClick To Tweet

Lessons about socializing and being happy with less. About honouring people and about the power of connecting person to person with the ability to have real conversations face-to-face. Many of the lessons I shared in “Five Key Lessons the Over 90 Generation Can Teach Us.”

Defying Healing Possibilities

My mother defies what is possible when it comes to healing as well. Until the age of 96, she had never been in the hospital overnight other than to have my brother and myself. On a cold February day in 2012, getting into the car to go shopping with her friend, she accidentally caught her foot on the bottom of the car door and twisted it badly enough that she fell out of the car to the ground. My daughter and I rushed to her side, giving her arnica and rescue remedy as we waited for the ambulance. She was in shock and didn’t seem to be in pain, but the full extent of the injury was only revealed once we got to the hospital.

Her ankle bones were shattered, protruding from both sides of her foot. We had a young, compassionate surgeon who after assessing the injury, strongly suggested that amputation was the best option. What? Of course, he didn’t know my mother! He said because of her age, her very thin skin and the extent of the damage, it was very unlikely they could repair it so she would ever be able to walk again. My daughter and I cried as we told him amputation was not an option.

Honoring the Person

Knowing my mother and her love of ‘gallivanting’, being out and mobile, the only option was for him to figure out how to fix it. We begged him to call on all the surgical magic he knew and repair her ankle. He reluctantly agreed to try. The surgery took six hours. My daughter and I huddled together in the hospital waiting room as the hours dragged by into the wee hours of the morning. We anxiously awaited any news.

They had a challenge with the anesthetic because of her age. Her skin kept disintegrating with every stitch the surgery team made to sew her ankle back together after they inserted the rods to hold her bones together. There was skepticism to whether it would even heal. Her recovery was long and there were many, many setbacks along the way. All her caregivers fell in love with her and her positive mindset. When I received an invitation to go to Peru with World Neighbors, I didn’t see how I could possibly accept the offer and leave her. She insisted I go, as did all the people in the rehab centre.

Defying the Odds

My mother defied the odds. Her strong will carried her through and she took on this new challenge at age 96, coming through it with remarkable strength and resilience. The surgeon still cannot believe that she healed enough to walk again, considering his original prognosis.

Although she has to use a walker for balance, we often laugh that keeping up with her is tough as she has mastered the art of ‘speed-walkering.’ My mother is an example of how a strong will, coupled with perseverance and determination, can literally keep you moving forward in life. Observing younger generations, I wonder if they have the resilience and strong will that many in my mother’s generation have.

Observing younger generations, I wonder if they have the resilience and strong will that many in the 90+ generation have. #strength #resilienceClick To Tweet

Attitude is Everything

My mother’s attitude has always been more important than all the other factors the ‘forever young’ generation has become somewhat fixated on.

She never was very concerned about the food she ate, and as a young girl she was a consummate athlete, something our younger generations haven’t taken up in the way my mother’s generation did. My mother all but lived at the local park where she learned to knit and crochet, play baseball, volleyball, and learned to swim and skate. It was less about competition and more about socializing.

Food Matters

The food quality during her formative years was much cleaner and nutrient-dense then the adulterated, depleted and processed foods readily available now. Here’s just a few staggering statistics showing the decline in our food’s nutrient density. Calcium in broccoli is down 50 per cent and Iron in watercress is down 88 per cent from 1975 to 2001. Vitamin A in apples is down 41 per cent (1963 to 2001).

There have been many other changes in farming over the past 100 plus years, and most of them have resulted in a loss of nutrients as well. Among these are synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, genetic modification, storage of foods for later use, shipping foods long distances and not replacing all the nutrients depleted with each crop.

Seems like my mother’s generation had a huge advantage over later generations when it comes to food, confirming why we need high quality nutritional supplements to stay healthy and vital today. We simply cannot get all our nutrition from food, regardless of how good the quality. Why I committed to support others to optimize their health as health and vitality consultant. 

The Power of Mindset

Of all the things people love about my mother is her “Talk yourself out of it” mindset that has been the cornerstone of her resilience, strength and love of life. When people ask what her “secret” is, she laughs, as she honestly cannot believe she is 100. That’s a big part of what aging well looks like, too.

Staying young at heart and of mind and not buying into the number that is on your birth certificate. Of all the lessons my mother leaves those who know her, is her love of living and desire to be here. To be active, to contribute and to live life to the max, regardless of your circumstances. A true lesson in what living to 100, and beyond, can look like!My mother_Aging with Attitude_Lil Golden at 100

note:  This post originally appeared on the HuffPost Living Canada on March 29, 2016

Beverley Golden

About Beverley Golden

Beverley Golden is a writer, storyteller, peacenik and health & vitality consultant, who loves testing unconventional ways to shift paradigms in the playing fields of health and wellness, storytelling and creativity as a path to world peace. Her passion is turning the “impossible” into the possible, using her own experiences with a lifetime of health issues, to inspire and support others to live their life to the fullest.

You're invited to a Complimentary Health Consultation, starting with the True Health Assessment that offers a customized personalized snapshot of how healthy you are in the areas of lifestyle, heredity and nutrition. Contact me to get started!

60 Comments

  • Katrina says:

    Your mom is incredible. Thank you for sharing part of her story and the love you have for her.

    • Thank you for appreciating my mother, Katrina! She is quite a force of nature and has been a great inspiration in my life.

  • WOW! Beverley. What an amazing story. You’re mother doesn’t look anything close to being in her 70s.
    I agree with you that attitude, food and mindset are all key to living a fulfilled and healthy loving life.
    It’s not just about age, it’s about quality – and yet, your mom was happy just living. Great story.

    • Thanks so much Claudette! I love sharing my mother, because it seems to uplift others as to what is possible when it comes to aging and still being vital and enjoying life! It really is about quality of life and being happy, seems to be a great elixir for my mother.

  • I know you treasure your mom…I miss mine every day. Happy Mother’s Day…and may you have her excellent genes!

    • Thanks Jackie! I know how much you loved and cherished your mother and I imagine it is hard not to have her here with you. I appreciate your wises re my mother’s genes. So far she is the only one in the family who seems to have this special combo of longevity genes. Maybe myself or my daughter might have inherited them. Hope your Mother’s Day is filled with fond memories.

  • You are blessed to have such a special mother. Over the weekend, I talked at length with two women who expressed how sad they were as Mothers’ Day is approaching. One of the is estranged from her son and the other has had six miscarriages and remains motherless.

    If was difficult to hear their pain so it was refreshing to read your post today.

    • Thank you so much Rachel! I am blessed to have my mother with me this long and to have her be such a strong and resilient lady. So sorry to hear about your friends ‘mothering’ experiences. Glad this offered a bit of light to you in these times.

  • What a lovely tribute to mama and so wonderful to hear of her zest and great attitude toward life.

    • Thank you so much Teresa! I appreciate hearing you can see my mom’s zest for life and how her attitude are big contributors to her long life!

  • Beverley this is such a beautiful post. My mother died when she was age 52 and I have outlived her now by 10 years. It is helpful to see how one ages gracefully and this story about your mom is a true gift. Thank you for writing and sharing this. Happy Mother’s Day!

    • Thank you so much Candess! I appreciate knowing you enjoyed reading this post. So sorry to hear your mother died so young. My father was only 51 when he died and losing a parent at such a young age, leaves a scar for life. It is helpful to see how my mother has aged, especially considering she has now outlived my father by 51 years and they were born the same day, the same year. Happy Mother’s Day to you as well!

  • Gill says:

    Your mother is amazing and looks incredible! What an ordeal for your family and Mom to go through with her ankle. You Mom is inspiring! 😀

    • Thanks so much for reading this and for your lovely comment, Gilly! You are right…my mother does look incredible and she is quite a force of nature, inspiring so may people who have come to know her, both in real life and also now online, when I post things like this about her! 🙂

  • True, attitude and belief is everything. The food depends a bit on where you live and what you have access to, at least here in Europe I do not agree fully it is that bad…it is true food is giving you less nutrients, but if you have access to good raw products as over here, you choose what you eat and where you buy the food.
    Congrats to your mother who managed to get back on her leg(s). 🙂
    Katarina Andersson recently posted…Wine from 3 Southern Italian Regions at Vino èMy Profile

    • It sounds like you have a much healthier lifestyle in Europe than we do here in North America, Katarina. I’ve heard this a lot and it is one of the reasons it seems that overall, people seem healthier there. The proliferation of packaged and junk food here, has created a population of sugar and salt addicts and obesity is at record levels. I would guess you don’t have that in Europe and it is because many countries value and honour fresh raw foods. That is consider ‘health food’ here and often costs more, which leaves a lot of people out. Of course once your palate is addicted to high sugar and salt, ‘real food’ doesn’t taste as good. Thanks for the congrats to my mother too! She really did defy what was considered possible.

  • Yes attitude seems to be everything in life. We can give in to feelings of terrible or we can rearrange our mind and thoughts.

    • Agree with you Renee! Our attitude is so much more powerful than we often give it credit for. The key is to find the joy in our lives and live from that place, and not dwelling on the unpleasant or negative.

  • Sheryl says:

    Awesome! Not sure I want to live to be 100 but I sure as heck want to live life to it’s fullest!!

    • It’s probably hard for most of us to imagine living to 100, Sheryl, but I guess the key is to have a desire, like you say, to live life to the fullest for all the years we are here!

  • What a full life she has! She is so fortunate to be in such great health, despite the ankle surgery. I’ve met people much younger who have much less vitality.

    • Thanks so much Jennifer! Yes, I heard from so many care givers that my mother had a better attitude and better health than people years younger than here. She’s a powerful testament to how attitude can impact our lives.

  • What an inspiration your mother is through this article alone – I can only imagine what a wonderful influence she has been on so many people throughout her life! I’m sure the doctors, nurses, aids, technicians, everyone who saw her recover from the ankle surgery with such a positive attitude were all left with valuable life lessons from her! I had that surgery at the age of 35 and remember such a long recovery, she is an amazing spirit fighting through that at 96! She is also very lucky to have you and your daughter fighting for her! Although I’m sure it comes from how she raised you, so she gave a gift to herself in that! 🙂
    Mindy Iannelli recently posted…Is Your Blog Post Complete?My Profile

    • Thank you so much Mindy! I really appreciate your comment and know having gone through what I described, you know exactly what that was like. And to only be 35 when it happened to you! Wow! Congrats on your recovery as well. My mother continues to be an inspiration for so many people who meet her and I hope by writing about her, some people she may never meet, but who can take away some lessons from her life. I think knowing my mother as well as I do and having my daughter who adores her, really has helped in the rare situations where someone needed to go to bat for her and what she stands for!

  • Your mother is having the time of her life. It is good that she is keeping herself busy. Quite different with the average senior citizen who stays at home most of the time and watching tv. I am glad to know that there is more to be living at 100 years. I feel inspired now to maintain the positive attitude, gallivanting and giving back.

    • Yes, Lorii, my mother really is having the time of her life. Especially at the party we threw for her for her 100th birthday! I agree with you that the average senior citizen isn’t as active and engaged as she is and I think this is what keeps her going. Happy this inspired you to stay positive and give back and maybe live a long and full life!

  • webly says:

    It’s really great that you mom lived through 100 years old. Imagine seeing all those different generations, clothing styles, inventions and all.
    Nutrition is so crucial so is mindset. I see so many people in their 60s just give up, waiting to retire and die when they may have another 40 years and plus to go like your mom.

    • My mother has definitely seen it all in all those years, Webly and what is great is she has a strong memory of all of it! I can’t imagine living that long, but really appreciate having her as an example of what is possible. I also see a lot of people become complacent at a young age and wonder if that leads to their steady decline. Keep living and loving life!

  • Ahhhh yes, I remember this post… super post and lovely lady for sure… and she is spot on… attitude is everything.
    Kristen Wilson recently posted…Cut Your Blog Writing in HALF with this One Tip!My Profile

    • Thanks so much Kristen! Yes, my mother is a lovely lady and she really does personify what a positive attitude is all about!

  • Your mother is such an inspiration to so many ways, thank you Beverley for sharing how awesome she really is 🙂 Wow, to live to be 100!

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Joan! My mother definitely is an inspiration and funny thing is she keeps saying she can’t believe she is 100! Maybe that is part of the secret to living to be 100! 🙂

  • Alene Geed says:

    You are blessed to have this amazing example of how we can live our lives. Your mother shows us all that it’s all about attitude, confidence and laughter. I loved reading about your Mom
    Alene Geed recently posted…Sagittarius Personality & Gemstones for your sign.My Profile

    • Thanks so much Alene! Yes, my mother really does exemplify what attitude can bring to our life. And yes to confidence and laughter, as I see that in my mother as well. I have been writing about my mother for several years now and am happy you had the opportunity to read about her too!

  • Beverley,
    Great Article I hope it posted this time I really enjoyed this about your mom and the sunshine you brought in your life and others. Parent’s like this make me so happy to have a father that was in my life and taught me the values he did. A blessed experience that Is full of Gratitude as I look forward in my life.

    • Thanks so much Lori! I really appreciate your kind words and your father sounds like a wonderful influence in your life. Thanks for sharing your fond memories of how much he contributed to your life and how grateful you are for him and the lessons he taught you.

  • I think the only thing I would add to your list of qualities necessary to live a long life would be faith in God. I realize that many people live their whole lives without this, but for me, it’s the first and foremost thing.
    Carol Rundle recently posted…Transforming GiftsMy Profile

    • I might not have mentioned it in this piece, but my mother has a strong belief in and prays to God for almost everything! That is a big part of her life too and that with everything else, has been wonderful for her.

  • I hope you plan to stick around as long as your Mother, Beverley. Heaven knows we need the wise woman to show us the way.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…Is the Fear of Success In Your Future?My Profile

    • Thanks for your kind wish, Joyce! I think a lot of us cannot even imagine living to be 100, so I take her as an example of what that can look like. My wish is that more people express a willingness to learn the valuable lessons my mother’s generation has to teach us!

  • God bless you (and your mom) for having her still in your life. In just a few weeks, I’ll be passing the first anniversary of my mom’s passing. I miss her.
    Jackie Harder recently posted…How to turn a confrontation into a win-win conversationMy Profile

    • Thanks so much Jackie! I can only imagine how much you miss your mother. I still cannot imagine my life without my mother being here.

  • Robin says:

    What a beautiful post! You mother’s beauty (inside and outside) just radiates. She is part of the “great generation”, and we can learn so much from them. I wish I had a video diary of my mom and dad prior to their passing – would love their words of wisdom to me.

    • Thanks so much Robin! I really appreciate hearing that you enjoyed this post about my mother and saw her true beauty. I agree that she is part of the ‘great generation’, as generation who has so much to teach us. It is wonderful that I have such amazing photos and a few videos of her, as my dad died when he was only 51 and we only have a silent video of him and I would love to hear his voice again. I feel you in that way and know how much you miss your own parents.

  • Sonya Kolodziejska says:

    Your mother is right, what a great attitude to have.
    I do believe in the main a healthy life style is important too.

    • Thanks so much Sonya! My mother does have a wonderful attitude and is living proof that attitude goes a long way to good health!

  • I remember reading this before but having another or deeper feeling now. I am currently in the midwest stay with mama after her beloved passed away what is now 2 months today. Oh she is just now showing signs of coming out of depression. However, I’ve had to help her with the finances, estate and medical, and so much ….it has reconnected us on many levels. Mama is not yet back to the strong woman she used to and I don’t think she quite like your mom either. Now that her crying has slowed it seems mine has started. I have become so emotional or more so these past couple of weeks. I do know I am a strong woman like you and your mama Beverley and this is a good thing for me / both us on deeper levels we don’t even fully see yet. What is next for her – not sure yet – but your post is inspiring.
    Teresa Salhi recently posted…Over-Giver? Here are solutions for women.My Profile

    • Thanks so much for sharing a little bit about what your mother is going through now, Teresa, and how you are there to support her. It’s amazing how our relationships strengthen, especially for you now, in this time when your mother really needs your love and support. It sounds like you are giving so much to her now and hopefully she will find her strength and rebound in her own time. I think you are a strong woman, Teresa, and I appreciate hearing you see that in my mother and also in me. Happy this post inspired you at this moment in time too!

  • Tamuria says:

    Your mother is a wonderful example to us all Beverley. I think a lot of younger people could learn a lot from her positive mindset.
    Tamuria recently posted…HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN GINGERBREAD MAN AND HIS HOUSEMy Profile

    • Thanks so much Tami! I agree with you that a lot of younger people would learn a lot from the older generation and my mother still has many lessons to share with those who know her. Hopefully my writing about her is sharing her with a few more people who she will positively impact too!

  • Your mom is such a shining example of everything it takes to live a long and joy-filled life: food, friends and most important, attitude. May she live to 120. May we all live such a healthy, joy-filled life till 120!
    Reba Linker recently posted…How to Manifest FreedomMy Profile

    • Thanks so much Reba! Yes, my mother does exemplify what a long life, well lived looks like. She really still has a joie de vivre and I know that is what keeps her going. She’d probably laugh if I told her you said you wished her a live lived to 120! However, you never know. May we all live such a healthy and joy-filled life for as many years as we are here.

  • You’re mother is such an inspiration, Beverley! I just love: “Talk yourself out of it” No wonder she’s lived to 100!
    Susan Mary Malone recently posted…This Is Why Your Brain Needs A Diversion Right NowMy Profile

    • Thanks so much Susan! I love that my mother, even at 100, is still inspiring people. Even me. 🙂 Yes, that “Talk yourself out of it” mantra has really served her well! And others who have adopted it.

  • Gurunath says:

    Hi

    This is an awesome post, Beverley 🙂 . The attitude of your mother is fabulous. Happy Mother’s Day and have a great weekend 🙂
    Gurunath recently posted…Temok Hosting Review: Affordable Premium Web Hosting and DomainsMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for stopping by and reading this piece, Gurunath! How lovely to meet you and happy to her you enjoyed reading about my mother’s attitude. wishing you an enjoyable weekend too! 🙂

  • Great post. I love the attitude your mom radiates, aging gracefully is not that easy, i truly admire your mom. Thanks for sharing.
    leadership qualities recently posted…Self Help Books: Your Guide to Building Self Esteem and ConfidenceMy Profile

    • Thanks for your comment Noah! Appreciate your thoughts on my mother and her positive attitude. Yes, she is definitely someone to admire too!

  • My grandmother ate a bacon and egg sandwhich every single morning. She drank her DR Pepper. She didn’t think about food like we do. She lived until 86 and of course your mom seeing 100 is far more amazing. Great post. Thank you for brightening my day here.
    Renee Groskreutz recently posted…Let’s Talk About A Blog Niche, Shall We?My Profile

    • Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post, Renee! Most people originally read it and commented when it was recently on the Huffington Post. Your grandmother sounds like she was incredible! Somehow that generation was somewhat immune to habits that today we consider unhealthy. There is something about their resilience and their will that gave them an advantage over the younger generations. My mother is quite extraordinary indeed and I love sharing her whenever I can, because she is inspiring. Happy that she brightened your day today too!

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