Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Fountain of Youth (or the perception thereof)

In my short experience of being a real nurse, it seems that the "fountain of youth" lies in your attitude towards life and how you deal with stress. The personalities of the 90 year old's I have met amazes me at my "quarter of a century" mark. Granted, there are quirks with many different people, and this is not where I will discuss my views on death and those who die. I write to detail the personality quirks I have noticed.

My great grandma is 97. Even though I have known her all of my life, the first real memory I have of her is at my grandpa's wake. Many family members were at her house (she was 80 and was still living by herself and to this day still is), pictures of my jovial and loving grandpa were around her house. The one picture I remember most was when my grandpa was 10ish, and he had moderately long curly hair - he even had a pronounced curl that curled on his forehead. I think I remember it the most because my mom always told me stories of how when my grandpa was a young boy he never wanted to cut his hair - stories her grandma (my great grandma) had told her as a child.

My great grandma is the one of the most loving, most forgiving, and most laid back members of my family. She has experienced tremendous loss but still finds strength to persevere with a smile. It is this quality that I think helps you live until you're 100 with your wits about you. ALL of the 90-some year olds I have experienced working with in the hospital are incredibly "with it". (They also appear remarkably young for their age!).

Essentially, what do you do with your stress? Do you deal with it productively? or do you dwell? I'm sure all of the patients I've dealt with in their older age have experienced traumatic events, the difference is how they deal with those events and every day events.

(They also probably don't eat at McD's everday...)