Monday, July 8, 2013

Seven Life Lessons from Vicky...


Vicky is not a relative...she is not a much-loved Aunt...nor a friend not a colleague...come to think of it she is not even an acquaintance. I met her in March in a Zumba class when all I wanted to do was run back into the restroom and cry, or pull the comforter over my head and wish the world away - it was March 21st...only 10 days since my Bapa had passed away. She was standing next to me - old, wrinkled and in really tight bright pink leotards...when she saw me looking at her, with twinkling eyes and a quick smile she said - Hi Honey! Haven't seen you in this class before? I admitted to it being my first class with that instructor...then the music started and we started dancing...we were creatures of habit...so for the next 4 Zumba classes I stood next to Vicky and we had the 2 minute conversations before our classes...Vicky was 81 (more than double my age, more than 2 decades older than my mother)...I don't see her much nowadays ( my schedule changed, so I picked another class)...yet the life lessons I learnt from this wonderful woman is something I will cherish for years to come.

  1. Follow your Bliss - Dancing made Vicky Happy...she lived in a  senior home but came to the gym to meet younger people and instructors. Didn't matter if she missed a beat, or had 2 left feet...DANCING MADE VICKY HAPPY and she did it no matter what
  2. Laugh at your mistakes - I have to say that first day in the class I focused less on the dancing and more time watching Vicky...she made a lot of mistakes...salsa, merengue, cumbia , african beats, bhangra...yet I saw her smile at herself and keep going till the last song
  3. Believe yourself beautiful - I saw her playing the role of a femme fatale with the spin instructor (he was probably in his late fifties)...nothing sordid, just an endearing sort of a repartee that had me spellbound...watching her confidence in her femininity and poise. 
  4. Life CAN be simple again -   Vicky chose to focus on one thing at a time -  You don't have to do it all, and you don't have to do it all right now.  Breathe, be present, and do your best with what’s in front of you. 
  5. Be nice to others - I looked like death warmed over...my hair a mess, my oldest tights and loosest t-shirt, obviously make-up was mostly an afterthought for me... yet after that first class she turned to me with that twinkle in her eyes and smile and said - Has anyone told you, you have the most beautiful eyes?...it was so genuine and from the heart.
  6. Be determined to be positive - this was the most important one for me...she was so chirpy and positive. She had on one of those knee supports and told me that her knees hurt her even to  shuffle...yet with a blase attitude she said - hey I am over 80 and don't yet need a knee replacement...that counts for something right.Understand that the greater part of your misery or unhappiness is determined not by your circumstances, but by your attitude.
  7. It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can't believe I did that,” than to look back and say, “I wish I did that.”  In the end, people will judge you in some way anyway.  So don't live your life trying to impress others.  Instead live your life impressing yourself.  Love yourself enough to never lower your standards for anyone....I saw Vicky doing just that!
I think rather than set exacting standards for myself...I will give myself a hall-pass. I don't want to ruminate in nostalgia or wallow in self pity for those that I have loved and lost .... Instead, I want to rejoice in being imperfect and being Me...as Dr.Seuss said it - 
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

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