This week, Trixie Buckel turned 92. She was married for 70 years. Her husband died nearly 3 years ago. I wonder at her spirit. What keeps her going, with such vitality and appetite for life? Even after a not particularly exciting occasion she will turn to me with a sparkle in her eyes and declare: "Wasn't that fun!" in such a way that it really was.
A person who can still celebrate her life at 92 has something to teach me. So I asked Trixie for her tips on longevity. Here they are - some of them!
1. Keep breathing
Breathe deeply now and then. It will help you to feel more relaxed and keep things in proper perspective.
2. Collect and celebrate birthdays
The more you have, the longer you live. Birthdays can be good for you.
Go on a happiness safari.
There is no limit on how much you can hunt
when what you are looking for is to be happy.
And if that pursuit takes you into the wild, then be wildly happy.
3. Stay in love with yourself
You need pampering. Go ahead and buy that Christmas present for yourself - Santa would approve. Trixie is buying herself a television for her bedroom this Christmas.
4. Spring isn't only for chickens
You can stay younger than springtime. It is all in your outlook. Keep fresh eyes on your world. Be enthusiastic. Share your enthusiasm.
5. Smile when you walk into a room full of people.
You may lift someone who is feeling sad. Make everyone laugh - go on stand on your head! Do not be afraid to look ridiculous. Dare to be yourself. Flirt - the men will love it.
Whenever I walk into a room, I put a smile on my face
because it may help somebody.
6. You need to look up to heaven and enjoy the clouds
Appreciate the dark clouds. The hold a certain beauty.
7. Enjoy and appreciate soft refreshing rain
The rain must be thought of as something very beautiful - even if it does destroy your hairdo.
8. Endure the bad to get to the good
My husband Ken, as he was dying, said: "You can do it". Faith gives hope. Have patience and believe that good will happen.
Faith is a bird that feels dawn breaking and sings while it is still dark.
9. Cherish your family and friends
Reach out and make new friends. You could help them. Invite Mrs Grumpy home for tea, biscuits and a chit chat. Everybody needs a chit chat.
The best minute you spend is the one you invest in people.
10. Accept and believe the compliments of your friends
It works as a great tonic. Know that your friends love you. Be willing to receive from them.
11. Live by your personal code of conduct
Have your set of ideals and live by them. Ideals like: never grumble; never complain; leave people feeling happy; be able to laugh at yourself.
12. Cook for yourself...
.... and love doing it!
Enjoy your meals and the pleasure they give you.
13. Forgiving is the most difficult thing you ever have to do....
.... make sure you do it.
Forgiving is like putting the cat out at night. Make sure you do it or you will be sorry in the morning. If you can't forgive, it eats away your guts. You can literally get an ulcer. Anger is one of the most useless emotions.
The whole of life,from the moment you are born to the moment you die
is a process of learning.
14. Somehow, keep the image you are always in God's hands
When you are in difficulty, say: "Please God, I need help" and you will get it.
15. Don't stop the carnival!
Continue to celebrate life - and find things to celebrate. The popping of corks is still a lovely sound. Pop a few!
Make the most of every moment. Have fun!
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet
and the winds long to play with your hair.
When I give retirement seminars, I ask the group:
What does positive attitude or positive state of mind mean for you?
The discussion that follows brings to the surface the individual's personal philosophy - their bedrock for living a healthy and happy third age. Trixie is living her personal philosophy to the full. I am sure I am not the only one who appreciates the bright light she brings into our lives.
What are your top tips for living well? Do you have an elder in your life who inspires you? What gives you greatest joy in life?