Three life lessons from a 91 year old!

\Last week I had the privilege to go to the Kings Head Theatre  in Islington to see a distant cousin perform her one woman autobiographical show, That’s Entertainment. The relative is Thelma Ruby who has trod the board with the likes of Kenneth Williams, Judi Dench and Orson Wells and at 91 was on stage for an hour and a half performing songs, telling stories and even high kicking!

A fascinating night, great cabaret with lots of laughs and maybe the odd tear! But what did I learn?

Lesson 1

I’m lucky enough to come from a long line of women who have lived well into their 90’s with relatively good health; they have all been women I am proud to know and I plan to ensure that future generations are proud to have known me too.

We can all make a difference if only to one person at a time and watching Thelma has made me realise that every day I have the chance to make a difference to somebody and that doesn’t seem an unrealistic aim!

By my calculation if I am lucky enough to live to 90 and make a difference to only one person a day – I’ll make a difference to another 12,775 people. Imagine what we could all do!!

Lesson 2

If you are passionate about something you can do ANYTHING!

Thelma obviously found walking and standing more difficult than she had as a younger woman but you could see her passion to perform hold her upright. A showman to the end.

To live a full and happy life … find your passion! It’s never too late, and that passion can provide a momentum that will hold you up, give you purpose and indeed maybe, it’s the passion we have which means we live to a ripe old age!

Lesson 3

The stories Thelma told of her (and my) family were fascinating and I hadn’t heard them before. They gave colour to historical facts I knew of but hadn’t perhaps seen as a part of my history or understood their social impact.

As a society we have more information than any before us but often human stories are glossed over and we see the horrors on television happening to homogenised groups rather than people just like us. And this is true of historical facts. Listening to Thelma the Pogroms in Lithuania and The Spanish Civil War seem closer and more defined than they did before and I have a better understanding of them.

Those of you who know me will know I talk a lot about the importance of stories and I realised last week that countless stories disappear with the passing of time. I don’t know enough of the stories that create my own history and listening to those of my older friends and family will stop that from happening.

If you are lucky enough to have older relatives or friends talk to them now … hear their stories and then tell yours to the next generation (they may not truly appreciate it now … but they will)!