My mother turned ninety-five this year. A very young wise-person recently said to me, “Wow, that’s a big number!” Imagine, ninety-five years old – that is a very big number. What images, meanings and emotions does that number conjure up for you?
Since I don’t know many ninety-five year olds, I have nothing to compare my mom’s aging process to. What I do know about her is that she’s pretty amazing in many ways. Mom is one of the lucky ones. Although her body may be showing the signs of age – her legs don’t always cooperate and she needs to use a walker – her mind is ultra sharp. Mom plays poker and Mahjong daily, keeps up with the news and politics, does crossword puzzles to keep her mind active and is an avid reader. The local librarian brings her special large print novels to read and is always making reading recommendations.
What I especially appreciate about my mother is her spirit and sense of adventure. She grew up in a time when women were not supported to achieve higher levels of attainment, professionally or educationally. Her expectations, once she married and had a family, were primarily focused on contributing to her children and family. Since she is clearly highly intelligent, I always wondered what that might have been like for her. Mom held many community leadership roles and was the go-to person whenever anyone had a problem. She always knew exactly what to say or do to save the day. In spite of her current physical limitations, mom is always ready to get on a plane to travel to a relative or grandchild’s wedding, graduation or other life-cycle event. Mom is my exemplar for life-long learning; she is always asking questions to further her knowledge and understanding of others and the world around her.
I am so grateful that I inherited her love of learning and sense of adventure and that I live in a time where women are encouraged and supported in their learning, professional attainment, physical and psychological strengths and passion for adventure. I haven’t learned how to play poker or Mahjong yet, but you never know. Given my mother's longevity, there’s still plenty of time to gain a myriad of skills and have many more adventures. Thanks Mom!