Do you have any grandparents who have celebrated their 90th birthday? Today marks my Grandpa Joe’s 115th birthday. The last birthday he celebrated was his 94th in 1992. Three of my four grandparents have lived past 90 so I feel like longevity is in my genes! Based on my observations of my Grandpa Grant and Grandpa Joe, and my special friend and colleague, Paul Morrison, here’s what I think leads to longevity.
My Grandpa Joe lived most of his life in Lansing, Iowa where he ran the family business, the local newspaper. He worked well past retirement age and only retired once his vision started to become poor and my dad was able to take over the business. Grandpa Joe had several passions in life including music and baseball. He played the piano and was the one who encouraged me to start lessons when I was young. I think he was always disappointed in how little I practiced though. He loved the Chicago Cubs and watched their games faithfully. While it was difficult for him to read in his later years due to poor eyesight, he kept his mind very sharp and was always up for a visit.
My Grandpa Grant is 93 years old and lives in a nursing home in the Kansas City area. After he retired he and my grandma spent much of their free time volunteering in the community and for their church. They also spent a lot of time traveling throughout the world. Grandpa Grant stayed in great shape through yard work (all done by hand, not a leaf blower in sight). He also had a passion in life and that was photography. From the time my mother was a small child and up until the last couple years he always had a camera with him and as a result we have thousands of photos spanning the last 65+ years. My grandpa and grandma also had one beer every night while they watched the Tonight Show!
My colleague and friend Paul Morrison is kind of like my work grandpa. I see him every day and we always exchange pleasantries in the copy room or break room. Like my grandpa, Paul has spent a good portion of his adult years volunteering as the Drake Historian for the Athletics Department. He has dedicated almost his entire life to Drake University and comes to his office six, and sometimes seven days a week, all as a volunteer of course because he retired in 1986! In addition to staying very social through his life at Drake, Paul, who is 95, moves around a lot. It wasn’t until about five years ago that he stopped walking to work and just about three years ago when he stopped being the Athletics Department mail and delivery man!
So what do all three of these men have in common? They all had or have a passion for something in life and something to look forward to. Whether it was baseball or photography or the Drake Bulldogs, having something to anticipate or a hobby to partake in makes a world of difference and a reason to get going each and every day!
What do you have in life that you look forward to each day?