She was born in 1234. It always stops people in their tracks.
“Date of birth?”
“1234” she replies with a smile. The first of February 1934. My Mum is 80¾ years old.
With a birth date like that it’s not hard to understand her love affair with numbers and patterns.
At the supermarket checkout she’d do the mental arithmetic in her head as the cashier put our groceries through. She was always right.
My Mum has a PhD in F&G – family, friends and games. This is how she rolls:
- Monday: Seeing friends, the ones she doesn’t play games with.
- Tuesday: Croquet in the morning (apparently it’s highly competitive). Bridge in the evening (“it’s nothing”, she says. That means she’s not being challenged but it’s fun).
- Wednesday: Tennis (she was once a pro and is still way better than me).
- Thursday: Bridge (a serious competition). She plays with her older brother.
- Friday: Bridge (a more serious competition). She loves to report in with her score.
- Saturday: Tennis in the morning. Another bridge game in the afternoon. It’s at Marlene’s, one of her childhood friends who is excellent at afternoon tea. Mum teaches them the moves.
- Sunday: Maybe a rest. More often it’s family or other friends and sometimes a trip to the cinema to see a New York Met season opera performance.
She knows about positive psychology without knowing a thing about it. She does what makes her feel good and is meaningful to her. She’s engaged. She’s connected. She keeps learning (croquet is still quite new). Active mind. Active heart. Active body.
Here’s the deal. She plays when she’s tired. She plays when she can’t be bothered.
She’s out on the court with a back brace, ankle strapped, calf sock, whatever she needs that week so she can play. She participates. She wants all in. She doesn’t turn up half-hearted.
Is that how you roll?
I hope to get to 80¾. I hope to still have her energy. She’s in better shape than all her friends her age. That’s bringing new challenges. Still, she shows me what’s possible.
How to retire well.
Today, if I feel tired or can’t be bothered doing something, I think of my Mum. If I feel too busy to keep up with my friends, I think of my Mum. If I think about how I want to roll, I think of my Mum.
She’s my role model. Who’s yours?