My grandmother is 98 and a half years old.
She’s got all her wits firmly in place, takes the time each day to dress each like she’ll be attending an upscale cocktail party, and can tell jokes that crack up the young and old. She refers to anyone younger than her (even by a few years) as ‘just a kid’. I adore her.
In her 80s, she decided she wanted to learn how to use a computer. So my mom taught her. Progress was slow at first, even with regular sessions and a lot of note-taking. But she persevered. She was convinced she could catch up.
And with all her patience and determination, she got there.
She’s on Facebook. She knows how live chat with a webcam. She just got an iPad. She forwards hilarious YouTube videos. She uses emojis. We email every couple weeks.
We’re all convinced it’s a big part of what’s kept her mind and spirits so strong as she approaches a century on this planet.
The other part of her lively strength is because of her bird. She had a pet budgie called Perry for almost 10 years. She’d had several birds as a younger woman, and always loved their peculiar company. She taught Perry all kinds of words and phrases. He entertained her guests. He followed her everywhere.
Earlier this year, Perry died. Just old age. He had had a full, wonderful life, but that was about all the life a bird like that could expect.
We were all sad for her, but worried as well.
What would happen to Grams without Perry? Without that companionship, and someone to take care of?
Well, Grams rose to yet another challenge with her hallmark resilience and optimism. She bloody well got another bird.
At 98. She signed on for a new pet. Just think about that.
He’s called Perry too. (They’ve all been called Perry, actually.) She’s delighted with her new friend.
How many things do we count ourselves out of, because we think the time has passed, we’re too old to try, or that it’s not worth trying to ‘catch up’ to all those that started years before?
How often do we dismiss what we’re capable of, and decide ‘that’s not for me’ when we forget that, until the day we die, we’re never done writing the story of ‘me’?
What you’re capable of, and what you want to show up for – that’s all decided by what you do next. Not what you’ve done (or haven’t done) before.
Next time you find yourself closing the door to opportunity because you think you showed up too late, imagine my 98 year old Grams sharing photos of her new bird on Facebook with all her great-grandchildren, waiting for the likes to roll in.
She’d pat your hand with a laugh and say you’re just a kid, and tell you: