Always Choose Life | Meyera White
Courage is what makes a person capable of facing extreme danger or difficulty without retreating. It implies bravery, a dauntless spirit and the ability to endure in times of adversity.– Keith Miller
The process of ageing has always been of interest to me not only because I am involved in Annique Health & Beauty, but more importantly what is it that makes some people old before their time, and some who are really getting on in years, stay seemingly forever young? It is a sincere privilege for me to have met Meyera White some years back. There are poignant moments in one’s life when you meet another person of significant character. They bear all the marks of a life well-lived and there is a mysterious invitation beckoning you to do the same. Meyera, then in her mid-80’s had enormous impact on me because of her agility, energy, strength, sense of humour, joy, business acumen and her love of life. All these years later and closer to 90, she is more like a woman in her 60’s with more energy than many 20 year olds. I asked Meyera what her key learnings and secrets to anti-ageing were. These are some of the gleanings from her rich life.
Getting older or confronting unexpected circumstances all takes courage. The following article caught my attention, since it is only as we practically live through life that wisdom, courage and determination become a deep focus for those who want to push through the tough circumstances – and finish strong.
The article was written by a 90-year-young woman – Regina Brett from Cleveland, Ohio. She has a somewhat interesting, courageous and insightful view on life:
“To celebrate growing older (90), I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.”
- Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
- When in doubt, just take the next small step.
- Life is too short – enjoy it.
- Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.
- Pay off your credit cards every month.
- You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.
- Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
- It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
- Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque.
- When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
- Make peace with your past so it won’t mess up the present.
- It’s OK to let your children see you cry.
- Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
- If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.
- Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don’t worry – God never blinks.
- Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
- Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.
- Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.
- It is never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.
- When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.
- Burn the candles, use the nice sheets and wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
- Overprepare, and then go with the flow.
- Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
- The most important sex organ is the brain.
- No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
- Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?’
- Always choose life.
- What other people think of you is none of your business.
- Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
- However good or bad a situation, it will change.
- Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
- Believe in miracles.
- God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.
- Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
- Growing old beats the alternative of dying young.
- Your children get only one childhood.
- All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
- Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
- If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
- Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need.
- The best is yet to come…
- No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
- Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”
Sometimes it takes learning from the life experiences of others, gaining insight into their choices and their mistakes, to avoid repeating their patterns and living with the unwanted outcomes. I must tell you a little joke about lies, continued Meyera. I lost my father when I was only 15. About a year later my Mom and I were baking cookies for the holidays. A gentleman who was trying to win my mother’s interest visited unexpectedly. She saw his car through the window and told me to tell him she was not home. I went to the door and said to him, “My Mom says I must tell you that she is not at home.” He left. That evening he phoned her and said “I got the message I will not bother you again!” Well, I was taught the lesson, not to lie, and my Mamma was very pleased because that got rid of an unwelcome admirer.”
My life is really so simple and uncomplicated. My mother taught us the following:
- Never lie. The truth you will always remember, but if you lie, you put yourself into turmoil, and worse still, you eventually start believing the lies you tell.
- No person on this earth is all bad. Look for the good and you might discover a gem under the rubble.
- If you cannot speak well of a person, keep quiet. If you are dissatisfied, don’t moan.
- Believe in God. Take your troubles to Him and do not interfere once you have asked Him for guidance.
- Love – because God is love.
And that is how I know Meyera White. At nearly 90 she is healthy, energetic, courageous and ready to tango at any given beat. When I asked about her real secret for staying young, she simply answered, “I never think about getting or being old!”
There must be a clue here about ageing being a state of mind. As Mark Twain says, “Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it won’t matter.” Meyera has taught me to have a courageous approach to the ageing process and to find the lift of life in every circumstance, even if it seems that time and gravity is working against you. Mark Twain also said, “Wrinkles are the place where your smile lives.” This is definitely a key to Meyera’s beauty. She is always smiling.
We can be 9, 29 or 90. The lift of life is going to require that we mobilise our mind, keep it stimulated with good thoughts and create great memories. Remember that reinvention is one of the secrets to staying young and current. Make the changes to keep moving with the times. There is no denying the relevance of reinvention. It will take courage to break out of the same old ways of doing things, wearing things and thinking things.
Meyera with her lovely daughter, Valerie.
Courage really does get people standing on their feet. When we stand tall, we make a quality life decision to get out from under the load of that which so easily weighs us down. Courage at any time of our life demands that we take risks, broaden our horizons and travel through life very lightly. There is a vibrant energy in each one of us that demands to be used. The vehicle of our lives was never meant to be driven with the brakes on. As Meyera proves to us, we can go to 90 and beyond with a youthful mind, passionately pursuing everything good that life has to offer – and in strength. Courage is after all a determination of the mind. Your mind is powerful and it is worth remembering in your pursuit of courage that your life follows your most dominant thought. Therefore if our minds are filled with fearful expectations, we can expect to be anxious, in negative apprehension and dreading the future. Facing the future with courage calls for us to pursue good memories and release the bad ones. We need to create new pathways of thought so we can speak and act differently. If it is a good memory – pursue it. If it is a bad memory – change it. Pursue a new pathway. Think, speak and act in a way that adds value to your life; to ultimately give you the lift of life. The messages that you are feeding your brain will be the bank that it will draw from to create your future life.
Living into the future with faith, love and hope and creating a journey of joy, allows you to confidently expect that your very best days are out ahead of you. It is not so much about how long we live, but rather that we are alive and enjoy all the days of our life.
God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live.
– Ecclesiastes 5:20, The Message Bible
Meyera sent me an email earlier in 2013 and I guess this really sums up her forever young approach to life:
I THANK YOU, LORD
Just this once, Lord,
I want to come to You without problems,
Without asking for anything,
without telling you how to run my day,
Just simply to say Thank You!
For Your forgiveness when we fall…
For the sheer joy of sleep when I’m terribly tired…
For the silent strength of humility when pride over takes me…
For the justice of Your laws when men are cruel.
For the remedies for sickness when I am ill…
For the simplicity of orderliness when I face confusion…
For the assurance that You have made a place especially for me when
I feel inadequate among my peers…
For the joy of helping others when I see people in need.
For the earthly evidences of Your Will when I’m trying
to find out what life is all about.
For the reality of Your world when I stray too far into fantasy…
For the rightness of reasonableness when I panic too quickly…
For the fun that refreshes when everything gets too serious.
For the renewal in moments of silence when I’m dizzy from
being busy in a hectic world…
Thank You, Lord for all these things.
But most of all, Thank You for Your Abiding Presence that makes
every day I live, a day of thanks.
I believe in the sun – even when it is not shining.
I believe in love – even when not feeling it.
I believe in God – even when He is silent.
– Author Unknown
Meyera has been an Annique Health & Beauty Consultant in Durban, South Africa for the past 30 years. The secret to her success? Her love for people and her never-give-up attitude is earning her a generous income and it gives her a daily focus to stay forever young. Should you wish to contact Meyera, you are welcome to email: [email protected]
I salute you Meyera for teaching us that ageing beautifully is a choice.
Thanks for being willing to participate in these stories of Courage.