Lesson Learned: I asked Mrs. P. what her secret was. How does one become 98 years old?
She smiled demurely and with a soft voice and lilt of a true Southern Belle, she replied without hesitation, “don’t worry!” I was rather surprised with this simple answer, fully anticipating a much longer list of do’s and don’ts.
Don’t worry? Who doesn’t worry when there’s so much to worry about. The health and well-being of a spouse, children, grandchildren, relatives, friends, colleagues and one’s self are usually at the top of the worry list. Then there are unemployment, money, safety, loss and rejection. Excessive worrying has been known to cause stress which can increase blood pressure that can lead to serious health problems. Worry saps one’s energy and can cause depression, not to mention those unsightly worry lines.
As I pondered Mrs. P.’s advice, the pulsing Caribbean beat of the famous Bobby McFerrin tune, “Don’t worry, be happy”, kept going through my mind. She didn’t divulge how she maintains a worry-free state of mind. Perhaps it was exercise, yoga, meditation, prayer or music that was the magic elixir.
I’ve seen Mrs. P. several times since she first shared her secret with me. Each time, she had a sparkle in her eyes and smile on her face. I finally understood – “Don’t worry, just smile”! If nothing else, you’ll get fewer worry lines.