by EMILY ORTON
My grandma Wanda turned ninety-nine this week. Ninety-nine. That’s fifty-five years older than me. If I had fifty-five years ahead of me, what would I want to do with them? If I had five years ahead of me, what would I want to do with them? If I only had one year ahead of me, what would I want to do with it?
The fact is we all have time, but none of us knows how much. My grandma has spent every year of her life learning, exploring and connecting. She and grandpa have seven children and were serial entrepreneurs running everything from an in-house tinted photography studio to a refrigeration warehouse (pre-home refrigeration era) to a big band. Grandma mostly worked as a journalist and at ninety-nine, you would think she had seen it all. Yet, she’s still delighted to learn. In her 80’s she went up in a hot air balloon. Always a huge reader, she switched to audiobooks when her eyes stopped cooperating. She stays in touch with friends and visits family every week.
Whether I have one more year or I live to one-hundred and five, I want to learn, explore and connect just like Grandma Wanda. Life is short no matter how long we live. This question from Mary Oliver's poem, The Summer Day, lives in my heart and bears repeating:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
If you think this post would encourage someone, please consider sharing.