It's a wonderful life photo published on strong-woman.com

Lessons for Living Well

I was at the grocery store for a quick run-in and had gotten through most of my short list when a woman who had been standing in front of the exact case I needed said to me, “Do you know what some one just told me?” I said I didn’t. She said, “He told me, ‘Can you move so I can look too?” I said, “He could have said, ‘Excuse me.’” and I told her not to worry about it. She started looking around and pointed out a guy and said, “I think it was him.”

My husband says I must have a sign on my forehead that says, “Please come talk to me” because it’s really not unusual for a stranger to start telling me all about themselves in great detail. It’s happened on the subway in LA, at restaurants, and many other places. But that’s another story.

Back to this woman at the grocery store. I didn’t get her name, but…

Here’s a summary of what she told me in the span of about 10 minutes:
  • She’s 83 years old.
  • Lives in a senior center where the residents meet weekly to talk about all the ways that people take advantage of them.
  • She has a really bad cancer all over her body, which she says doesn’t bother her.
  • She has problems with the cable company and the assisted living agency which has sent her 3 different care-givers: a woman who washes dishes without soap, a woman who had rotten teeth and breath, an 86 year-old woman who was more frail than she is.
  • And much more.

Then she told me that her daughter isn’t speaking to her and why.

I told her, “Now this is something you need to take care of.”

You can’t tell by looking at some one what they’re going through. And even though she may have had some issues that caused her to be so negative, that 10-minute conversation in the grocery store aisle reminded me of some important life lessons and how they relate to living a healthy lifestyle.

Lesson #1

Have a heart of gratitude. If you hear, see, and think about everything that’s going wrong, the things that are going right won’t get any attention.

Keeping the Body HealthyRelated to a healthy lifestyle:
I have such admiration for the amazing human body. I am grateful for all my body does and am grateful to have food every day. Those things together help me stay on track by making choices that are good for my body, like exercising regularly and eating nutritious food most of the time. Keep a gratitude journal and write something you are grateful for every day.

Lesson #2

Be accountable. Things happen to us, of course, but do what you can and don’t worry about the things you can’t change. Stop looking at what others are doing to you and start looking at what you’re doing for you.

Related to a healthy lifestyle: How do your lifestyle choicesyou-can-do-it affect you? I’ve known people who’ve had weight-loss surgery and lost a lot of weight. But because they never
made lifestyle changes, they’ve ended up gaining it all back. Look at your circumstances and have the courage to do what you can to improve your health. Start slow by changing one thing at a time. It won’t happen overnight, so be patient. You can do it!

Lesson # 3

Take care of the big things. This 83 year-old woman with cancer put in hours a day tending to the small things, like her cable services, and neglecting the big things, like nurturing her relationship with her daughter. That’s just sad.

Related to a healthy lifestyle: Take action so that you can take WonderfulLifecare of the big things in life. Decide what’s important to you and then act accordingly. If you want to be active and be able to enjoy your children and grandchildren, move more, eat vegetables every day, laugh often, practice deep breathing to de-stress, stretch, connect with people, volunteer, be kind. Probably the biggest thing: take care of yourself so that you are better able to care for others.

When I finally left this woman, I started to say good luck but then I said, “God bless you.” I believe she is already abundantly blessed, but what I believe doesn’t matter at all if she doesn’t believe it too.

The body achieves what the mind believes. Decide what’s important to you, believe you can have or do it, and then take action to make it happen.

What do you value? Do you spend your time and energy on those things? We all let the small things get us down sometimes. What do you do to brush those things off?