Life Advice From A Very Sweet 70-Year-Old.

Advice always finds me in the oddest places. I have one of those welcoming faces that creates a lot of “over-sharing” situations. Even when I try to scowl, people feel that I want to hear their stories. It’s a blessing, really. Well, most of the time. A lot of people want advice but about fifty percent of the time, I end up getting some useful advice, too. 

Most of this happens in stores. Sometimes people will approach me in the aisles and ask if I work there. I explain that I don’t, they apologize and then I hear about their house renovation, their dog’s death or how their diet is going…it’s almost to the point where I just budget in that time to my shop.

It’s always strangers. I live in a city and thought that, once I’d moved out of my small town, stopping to chat in stores wouldn’t happen anymore! Haha. The line at Superstore is where a woman taught me how to make the best banana pancakes and which gluten-free bread is best. The line at Shoppers Drug Mart is where I helped the cashier figure out that she still wasn’t over her ex-boyfriend. The line at a garden center is where I helped a woman come to terms with the death of her cat and she decided to plant a memorial garden. 

Like I said, I have a welcoming face. And yes, I’ve been told I should be a therapist many times. 

So, it was no surprise that, while in line at Value Village, a woman asked who I was buying the toy for and told me I should bring a senior next time to get the senior discount. I thanked her and paid for my stuff. As I was heading to the doors, she was at the shopping carts and stopped me again, 

“Why not do it next time?” she asked, “A lot of young people don’t realize they can get the senior discount if they bring a grandparent to go to the cash for them! I think you should.”

I smiled and politely agreed, even though my grandparents are gone and I thought of saying, “Think they would accept a corpse?” I bit my tongue, knowing dark humour wasn’t appropriate. Then, she said, 

“I bet you don’t know I can get the senior discount. Guess how old I am!”

Guessing late 50’s, she shook her head in delight, clearly loving this, and declaring, 

“70! Nearing 71!”

I was genuinely shocked. Both my mother and I have young faces, thanks to their round shape and lucky genes, so I am usually pretty good at guessing when people look younger than they are. And if a woman asks you to guess their age, it’s because she’s aware you will guess low. 

“Shocking!” I said, “You’re really lucky: you’re clearly in great shape.”

I walked a couple steps and stopped, then turned back to her. 

“I know you get asked this a lot- but what’s your secret. Any wisdom you share?” 

She did. Of course she did. The older generation is neglected in our culture. For the most part, we don’t see them as wise, to be respected, or heard. Other cultures seem to hold them in reverence and often share their homes with several generations of the family. In Western culture, we appear to shove them away; putting them in homes, talking over them at parties and seeing them as “silly old fools”. But, every time I am in a quiet space with one of my elders, I try to give them time to speak or impart some wisdom. 

This was one of those times. 

I’d like to share what she said. 

Simple advice from a seventy-year-old woman on looking and feeling younger:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t drink
  • Think positive and smile as much as possible
  • Get 8 hours of quality sleep a night
  • Moisturize

That’s it! She looks and sounds wonderful- physically and emotionally she seemed a much younger woman. It was delightful to chat with her that day and it made my week. These little kind talks lift us up. We can live in a city but still be connected and given wonderful advice, if we leave ourselves open to it.

Her “secrets” are practical, simple things that anyone could (and probably should) do!

I loved sharing this with you. I wish I had a photo of her, but I was too shy to ask! Trust me, she looked amazing and had a kind laugh and clear, sparkling eyes full of love and laughter. 

Have you had any random acts of kindness or conversations that lifted you up this week?? 

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