Gladys is outside my office door, sitting in her normal chair. As I walked by to drop something in the mailbox she remarked that I always "look so perky."
"I think you're always pretty perky yourself, Gladys. That must be what keeps you so young," I reply.
"Oh, I wish I were young," she sighs.
"What would you do?" I ask, not really knowing what else to say. She hesitates for only a fraction of a second and comes up with this gem: "Much of the same things I've already done."
I love this woman! Her comment, though said casually, is certainly profound. At 92, she could be outside my office door sitting in a chair thinking about all the parts of her life she wished she could do over. Everyone has things they wish they could do over, Gladys included. What I think we forget sometimes is that those regrets are actually very few in number in the big picture, and while some regrets stick around longer than others, the most important thing is to LET IT GO at some point. If we spend a lifetime giving energy to regrets they will ultimately hold us captive....and someday we'll turn out to be the grumpy asshole at the Assisted Living that no one wants to sit with at lunch.
Instead of dwelling on her "do-overs," Gladys is sitting out there in that chair remembering everything else that has been good about her life. I think she is living proof that a positive attitude and sunny outlook will cultivate a happy life. She has Alzheimer's. She does not know what year it is. She cannot remember her roommate died.
But she is happy.
She makes me happy. Have I mentioned I love her?
10 months ago