Age is just an attitude. If you don’t believe it, you need to meet my friend Nita.
I met Nita about twenty years ago at a Wives of Vets support group. Her husband had served in Korea, mine in Vietnam. It turned out she lived right around the corner from me, and we became fast friends. About fifteen years ago, she divorced her husband and moved to a 55+ community in Scottsdale. We make a point of seeing each other a few times a year, and I just returned from a delightful visit.
Nita, at 76, is an accomplished artist (oils and acrylics) and silversmith, who also teaches art to members of her community. In addition to being very creative and talented, she’s adventurous and fun to be around. What I like most about Nita is her attitude about aging, what she calls the “A” word. Words like aging, old, senior, and elderly simply aren’t in her vocabulary.
“We’re all just people,” she explains, “and depending on when you ask, some of us are doing better than others.”
Of course, Nita realizes that she’s getting older, but regardless of health issues (yes, she’s had a few scares), she prefers to focus on what she can do, not what she can’t. In all the years I’ve known her, I’ve never once heard her complain about anyone or anything. Believe me, she’s had many occasions to bitch and moan, but she encourages everyone who knows her to take the high road.
During my recent trip, I decided to figure out what makes Nita so positive. I took a close look at her life and lifestyle, and here’s what I observed:
- Every day, Nita does something creative. Her place is filled with a variety of art, and she’s always adding to her collection.
- She surrounds herself with color. From the clothes she wears to the walls in her house, everything is bright and light.
- Family members and good friends are an essential part of her life, and social gatherings abound. While I was there, her brother was working on remodeling her kitchen and her daughter was also visiting.
- Nita is brave. She’s not afraid to get up in front of a crowd to sing karaoke a couple of times a week.
- She’s still working—teaching art and painting portraits on commission.
- Yard sales and thrift stores are hidden treasures, because, as Nita says, “You never know what you’ll find.”
- She is a wonderful friend who is always honest and willing to talk about anything and everything. And she listens.
- Whenever she can, she helps her family members, friends, and the community. During my brief visit, she put on a crafts fair and an art show. The woman is the Energizer bunny.
For Nita, age really is just an attitude. For me, that attitude is an inspiration. I’m so grateful to have her as a friend and a positive force in my life.
Jan Fishler, MA, is currently co-authoring a new book, Don’t Stop Now, Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life (DontStopNow.us). She is also the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir), and has written several articles about alternative health and PTSD. You can learn more about Jan at www.JanFishler.net.