Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Adapt my dear"

...said the centenarian to the late Peter Gzowski on his radio show, as to what was the one piece of advice she could give people. Adapt. As simple as that. And a fine piece of advice it is.

Recently I was at a 75th birthday party for a friend's mother, and as we were standing over the webber kettle as the lamb was cooking, we started talking about birthdays and age, and how well we are aging.  My friend Jeff, whose mother's birthday we were celebrating, told me this little Gzowski trivia, and it got me thinking just how right this lady was. This was indeed a sage piece of advice.

Think back 100 years from now to 1912 - pre World War One, cars were just barely coming into vogue, hemlines were still long and about to start rising and we had yet to think of flying beyond what Jules Verne had dreamed of. Imagine one who has seen all the changes from the past 100 years — it's astounding, really. My Dad's Dad was 101 when he passed away. What must he have seen, and adapted to. He served in the First World War in the Polish army and was twice captured and escaped from a Siberian prisoner of war camp, emigrated to Canada with his young wife and daughter just in time for the great depression, learned a new language, English, settled in a harsh environment, the Manitoba prairies, farmed the land until his 80's, saw all his children marry and move away, only to resettle in a large new city, Toronto, for his final years, away from everything he knew for the previous sixty years, but, he adapted. My grandfather always had his squeeze box nearby, willing to sing a song and share a shot of whiskey with you, all the while with a twinkle in his bright blue eyes. He had no great health issues, perhaps because he learned to adapt at a young age, rather than get stressed over things. Who knows? What we do know is that stress on the body is cumulative, and not a good thing.

Too many of us don't adapt, or fear to adapt. Life is about constant change, and how well we choose to adapt and be resilient to those changes also determines, to a certain extent, how long we may live. The more we fight change, the harder things become. Too many things are out of our control, and as trite as it may sound, it's just not worth sweating the small stuff, but, to adapt to it. Change is going to happen — period — whether we want it or not, so we might as well just get used to it, and learn to adapt, sooner rather than later, and be able to enjoy so much more, all that much more.

Thank you Jeff for that little story.

Said lamb on the Webber.

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