Life Gets Better after 90: Cecile’s Lesson

In Cecile Lamkin’s living room, a wall of windows looks out through the still-bare trees to a calm lake below. This house has been Cecile’s home for over 50 years, only she recently gave up daily swims, she said, “Because I can’t get down the stairs anymore.” Widowed several years earlier after 68 years of marriage, Cecile, 93, explained that live after turning 90 has brought her a sense of wholeness, acceptance, and the ability to enjoy small pleasures.

I am much clearer now. I say that as an older person, not just as an adult, but as an older person, things are much clearer. I was just telling my daughter, I think I’m happier now than I’ve ever been in my life. And I’ve been thinking about why it is that I’m happier now. I came up with a lot of stuff. First of all, things that were important to me are no longer important, or not as important. The second thing is, I don’t feel responsible in the same way that I used to feel. I’ve been a pretty responsible person, but I don’t feel that responsibility anymore. My children are in charge of their lives, and whatever they do with them, they will do with them.

And I live in a place, my house, that I love. In the summer here it is wonderful, and I live outdoors at that time. My family comes, friends come, and I use it like a vacation. I’ve also given up feeling that I have to entertain people. If there’s someone coming up, they will bring such and such. It’s very liberating for me. And I just feel a contentedness that I’ve never felt before. I’ve heard other people my age say the same thing.”

In the Legacy Project, so many people told us that they were happier than ever in their 80s, 90s, and beyond. So why do we all fear growing old so much? Please comment and share your thoughts on that question!

2 thoughts on “Life Gets Better after 90: Cecile’s Lesson

  1. I just read Cecile’s section in 30 Years for Living, and she actually made me less fearful of aging. Personally, I fear loss more than I fear the mental and physical attributes that accompany old age. However, Cecile makes it clear that the acceptance and freedom of old age can be liberating rather than confining. This is an important thought and lesson I will carry with me into my old age. From now on, I will try to look more at the benefits of becoming older, rather than fearing what lies ahead.

  2. At 66 I have no worries about getting older, I love this age, and being in good health (which can really determine your feelings on aging) I feel like I’m 25, I get along great with all ages. I grew up with a mom who always said she felt 18 inside, and a grandmother who lived alone, without help, until she was 100! If your health is good, age is just in your head. If your health is bad, get after it, your body loves to heal – there are so many resources to help. Just do it! No one is guaranteed tomorrow. Make today awesome 😊

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