90 year old, Jane Hilliard, in 30 Lessons For Living: Tried and True Advice From the Wisest Americans by Karl Pillemer
“…my later years have been much easier because I learned to be grateful for what I have, and no longer bemoan what I don’t have or can’t do. Saying “thank you” reminds me of my blessings, which are many. When I look back over my life, the most important things I have learned are these.
My small and modest home gives me a feeling of comfort and security.
Being self-reliant and able to care for myself has been part of my mother’s heritage to me. She didn’t give up when life was difficult and I try not to either. Grief, sorrow, and disappointment are difficult to endure, but in time I realized that there usually was a lesson to be learned and memory has allowed me to remember a person loved who is now gone.
Mother taught me not to cry over “spilt milk.” If you make a mess, clean it up. If you break it, fix it. And if you make a mistake, correct it. She also taught me to keep my word, to be dependable, not to rob others of their time by being late, and to promptly return what I borrow. The world would be a better place if we all learned to value each other, to respect each other’s privacy and differences, and, most importantly, not be judgmental.
Life isn’t fair. I believe it is important to have arms outstretched, holding one hand up to the person who is giving you a lift up, and one hand down, giving someone else a helping hand up. Some days will be passed by putting one foot in front of the other to get through, but others will be filled with joy, every moment worth celebrating.
I have had to live simply but eventually I realized that it is the best way for me to live. To know what is enough, not to use more than my share of the earth’s resources, to recognize the difference between wants and needs, to enjoy the pleasure of making something broken of use again, and learning to appreciate simple pleasures has made my life more satisfying and less worrisome. Happiness does not depend on how much we have but is based on personal success of skills and artistry, a sense of humor, the acquisition of knowledge, the refinement of character, the expression of gratitude, the satisfaction of helping others, the pleasure of friends, the comfort of family, and the joy of love.”
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