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

Another busy day for BC Ferry passengers

First sailings to and from Swartz Bay full or nearly full

Sooke kayak incident could have been averted: expert

Training is key, says local trainer

Did we mention the cookies?

An hour of your time could save a life at Sooke blood donor clinic

Fire damage to Esquimalt building leaves some tenants out for at least six months

Structural damage has barred half of the tenants from returning, while others might move back sooner

MISSING: Victoria woman Teci London

Victoria police are looking for a 41-year old woman last seen on April 16

4 victims killed in Penticton shooting spree remembered at vigil

John Brittain, 68, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder

Three climbers presumed dead after avalanche in Banff National Park

One of the men is American and the other two are from Europe, according to officials

TSB issues two safety recommendations in probe of fatal B.C. train derailment

The train derailment killed three crew members on board

VIDEO: Trump tried to seize control of Mueller probe, report says

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s report revealed to a waiting nation Thursday

Short-circuit likely caused Notre Dame fire: police official

Investigators made an initial assessment of the cathedral but can’t yet search charred interior

Whitecaps fans stage walkout over club’s response to allegations against B.C. coach

Soccer coach has been suspended by Coastal FC since February

Contaminated soil to stay at contentious Shawnigan Lake site?

Reaction: “The community would lose their minds if this plan proceeds.”

B.C. awaits Kenney’s ‘turn off taps,’ threat; Quebec rejects Alberta pipelines

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he spoke with Kenney Wednesday and the tone was cordial

Snowbirds arrive on Vancouver Island for annual spring training

VIDEO: Acrobatic air team back in Comox for annual spring training

Most Read