Meet “Annie”…my adorable 82 year old inspiration!
Annie and I met recently while seated beside one another at a bar during Happy Hour in a very busy establishment in Oceanside, California.
I couldn’t help but overhear how specific she was in ordering her Key Lime Martini. I leaned in to let her know that although I was predominately a wine drinker, I was intrigued by her order.
According to Annie, the lime froth they topped the martini with was always just a “bit too much”. She very politely, yet very precisely advised the bartender on exactly how she wanted it. He was a darling and indulged her completely.
In observing that one brief exchange, I was quickly reminded that with age comes Wisdom…along with a splash of what I refer to as the “No Bullshit Delivery” (abbreviated simply as “NBD”).
I am not entirely sure at what age or stage in life our NBD gauge starts to click in…I just know at some point a subtle shift takes place. We begin to live our life with more intention and with an added desire to not settle for less than what we really want.
It’s an empowering place to be, as it has nothing to do with being boisterous, demanding or negative…but everything to do with being self assured, polite, precise and deserving.
Annie demonstrated her NBD beautifully and at age 82…I think she’s earned her degree!
I was taken by her energy. She had a “Chutzpah” about her that I loved. It was evident she was clear about who she was, as she thought nothing of waltzing into a full bar alone, filled with people most of whom were 1/2 her age. She boldly, and confidently took her place on that bar stool to embrace the Happy Hour with verve!
The two of us spent maybe 15 minutes engaged in a delightful conversation about my favorite subject…LIFE! It may have only been minutes, but I felt as though I’d been gifted decades worth of knowledge.
Annie shared how she’d been a widow for the past 6 years. After her husband passed away (very unexpectedly), she found herself having to readjust…faced now with an entirely new normal. They’d been married 53 years and had what she described as a “Very good marriage…for the most part” (she not only had Chutzpah, she was also a realist).
It was both sad and difficult for her at age 76 to be faced suddenly with living life alone. Annie spent a full year grieving while getting to know herself all over again. Then one day she woke up to realize that she was still very much alive, but she could see how her own life was quietly slipping away. She had to find a way to move forward.
This includes going out the odd evening for a martini and steak when she doesnt feel like sitting at home cooking for one. “We have to keep going” she told me, as “Life changes and we must learn to change with it”… “I had to figure out who I was now, but most importantly…who I was going to be as I lived out the remainder of my life”.
Believe me when I say I had more than one set of goosebumps rise and set throughout this exchange.
Annie said that although she’s now comfortable being alone, she never gets tired of seeing what the rest of the world is up to. Her children live afar, and several of her close friends are not as mobile, therefore she often goes out on her own.
As this beautiful, strong, inspiring woman shared her Life knowledge with me…I found myself absorbing it like a sponge. When she got up to move into the dining room, (explaining how one can drink at a bar, however one should always dine at a table), I let her know how much I enjoyed our talk. I thanked her for sharing her meaningful advice with me and proclaimed she was my new living proof on how “Age is just an Attitude”.
She thanked me in return, then patted me on the hand, looked me in the eye and said…”Live your Life dear, no matter what happens along the way”.
I got a little shiver watching her leave, and that all too familiar “no coincidence” feeling was lingering. I felt there was a deeper meaning to our simple, brief encounter.
I finished my wine and as I walked back to where I was staying, which was a beautiful little Parisian beach house situated along the oceanfront…I decided to take the long way home. Carrying my shoes, I took my time, slowly strolling barefoot along the soft silky sand.
Couples walked hand in hand in preparation to view the sunset. Families were packing up as their little ones continued running towards the waves…savoring the last bit of fun they could squeeze in before the day came to a close.
It seemed I was the only one on the beach who was there alone, and yet I felt a fullness that went beyond anything I could measure. I realized that perhaps through it all, Life may come down to us just taking it all in, all the while staying on a simple quest of figuring out who we are…and how we want to live.
I’ve carried Annie’s words of wisdom around with me since that day, as it all rings true. Nothing ever stays the same…time passes…life goes on…the unexpected happens…things and circumstances will continuously change so it’s best we learn to change with it. And age…well, I guess it really is all about the attitude we choose to give it.
For today friends…this is The World As Eye See It