A Long Life. A Strong Spirit.
Posted on October 29, 2014 by Jesse Hazel
Atria Springdale resident Jo P. was kind enough to open up to me about her life. I can easily describe Jo as “determined.” She has been through a lot in her 81 years and although she’s lost two children and two husbands, she’s steadfast in her goal to be positive and optimistic. I have come to understand that Jo is the kind of person who is determined to push through the storm and come out stronger on the other side.
I began my chat with Joe by asking her how old she is. Without hesitation, she said, “81.” So, I asked her if she feels her age, to which she responded, “If I feel good and don’t look in a mirror I would guess I was 67 years old.” I paused here because I presumed that someone who feels younger than they are has probably led a leisurely life, allowing them to stay younger longer. I never expected to learn that Jo had gone through such difficulties in her life.
While Jo was relating stories of the rough times in her life to me, she also mentioned a variety of support systems that helped her through. She found comfort in her work – for instance – first while working in retail at two department stores and then at the Red Cross as a nurse. Jo did not linger on the subject of support, but when she mentioned it I could tell there was an appreciation in her voice for the members of her various support systems.
In this same vein, consider another of Jo’s nuggets of wisdom: “Really try to treat people how you would like to be treated.” It is not the first time I have heard this, of course; it was a particular favorite of my mother’s when I picked on my younger brother. It was what Jo said next that got me: “Think about what you say and do, and if it hurts someone, try not to do it again.” It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Yes, but I’m not sure how often I really take the time to think about what I say and do to others. The wisdom in that advice is priceless.
Finally, Jo told me, “You must come out to be a stronger person when you have bumps in the road. I think I have lived this long and this well because I got strong from the bumps in the road.” Jo has inspired me to reach for a new level of perseverance. Next time I hit a bump in the road, I will think of Jo and her determination. I aspire to be as positive and optimistic as she has been throughout her life, and I thank her for inspiring everyone she meets.