COLUMN: The right attitude makes all the difference

A brief chat with 100-year-old Bessie brings life into perspective

By Rick Stiebel

One of the perks of keeping a foot in the journalism pool is the occasional assignment you think will be a snooze fest that turns into a wakeup call.

I had the pleasure of spending a few moments with a former long-time Sooke resident on her 100th birthday last week, and would like to think I came away a better person for the experience.

At my age, any trip to an assisted care facility can be a tad disconcerting, considering I may wind up in one of the rooms in the (hopefully) distant future.

A brief chat with Bessie’s son, Reg, put things in a different perspective, considering he’s got at least 15 years on me. I was blown away when he told me how his mom’s parents had made the journey from Saskatchewan to B.C. in a covered wagon.

I know next to nothing about genetics, but the fact Bessie’s sister made it to the century mark as well, and both her brothers carried on well into their 90s got me thinking that family tree has some pretty fruitful roots.

When he mentioned Bessie’s mom lived to a 107, I came away convinced there’s definitely more than a little cause and effect going on in that gene pool.

Which brings us back to Bessie, who seemed in more control of her faculties than, with the proper apologies intended, a lot of people I call good friends.

When I asked her what the key to longevity was, she said simply, without hesitation, “Take it one day at a time.” When someone else enquired about what was the biggest change she’s seen in her years on this planet, her reply resonated in a way that still has me reflecting on what she had to say.

She said people used to be content to stay at home, but now everyone seems to rush from here to there all the time without ever stopping long enough to look at each other. In other words, slow down, share a smile and enjoy the immediacy of the moment without worrying about comes next.

It’s solid advice as we continue along our journey to the inevitable end that awaits us all, and something I’ll make a concerted effort to live by.

As someone who used to look forward to my golden years purely for the improvements in pharmaceuticals and advances in video games, bless you, Bessie, for giving me much more to think about, courtesy of the few words we got to share.

•••

Rick Stiebel is a Sooke resident and semi-retired journalist.

 

Just Posted

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Island Savings kick-starts the Equipped to Heal campaign with $120,000. (Courtesy Victoria Hospitals Foundation)
Latest Victoria Hospitals Foundation campaign targets $1M for mental health

Goal is to outfit new 19-bed unit at Eric Martin Pavilion

Shaelyn Sinnott of Oak Bay Volunteer Services delivers groceries for client Irene Kenny. The organization has kept up delivery of food and medication throughout all phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Oak Bay Volunteer Services)
Oak Bay volunteers keep critical services running

Duo drove between Oak Bay and Jubilee three days a week, twice a day during pandemic

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read