Life Advice from my 92-Year-Old Grandma

My grandma, Mary Kay, is a remarkable woman. She was a successful nurse, raised 6 children, endured the loss of one of those children, and has lived for 92 years (next month, she'll be 93). Many of my friends will say casually, "My grandpa is turning 78 today! Remind me to call him," or "Wow, I can't believe my grandma is turning 80 today!" When I hear this, I usually stare at them with a puzzled look on my face, as if to say, "80? Really??" Then, I proceed to brag and tell them my grandma is almost 93 and is still living mostly on her own, is still a night owl (she loves the Late Night shows), and still rocks pink sneakers. And, she's the ultimate role model. I could sit and listen to her stories for hours; about how she fell in love with my grandpa or what it was like raising my dad and his adventurous siblings. She has some pretty hilarious and unbelievable anecdotes. I enjoy having an older grandma, because she is so full of wisdom, advice and experience. That's what inspired me to write this article. I wanted to share with all of you what a 92-year-old woman who has seen it all has to say about life.

So, here's a little taste of Grandma W's wisdom.

On dating:

"I don’t think a girl should start dating until she’s at least 16. It shouldn't be a steady thing at that age either; girls should be able to date different guys at that age. They’re young and they don’t know what they want yet. I think that girls also should date in college, but it’s hard to date seriously during those years; it takes up your time when you should be studying. Boys take time from what you really want to do."

On 'the one':

"Sometimes you meet someone, and you just know. Everybody says that, but it's true. But I think you sometimes have to be a little older to know. I just knew that your grandpa was the one when he brought his sister in with a broken arm. I thought they were a couple. Turned out, his cousin worked in the lab, and he said to his cousin, ‘She better call me or else somebody else will get me,’ so I called him right away, and we sure enough went on a date. And I knew he was the one."

Advice to the males out there:

“Send her flowers...Show her you care. Grandpa would send me flowers when he was going to be late to a dance or a date, because of his job on the railroad. That’s when you know; when he does little gestures like that for you. ”

On marriage:

“Don’t be in a rush. Don’t marry the first one that comes along. There’s a lotta nice fellas out there to take you out. Form an opinion about what you would like in a man. You’ll find a nice guy someday. You just have to be patient, which can be hard sometimes...Or most of the time.”

On careers:

“I will tell you this, what you have gone to college and learned, it’s sometimes hard to find a job in what you studied. You never know. But no matter what, use the knowledge that you did learn during those four years of your college education. Those years go so quickly, so enjoy them. Then you have to face the real world.”

On being happy:

“I have learned that to be happy, no one is going to do it for you. It's within you; you make your own happiness. If you want to be someone else or force yourself to be someone you’re not, you won't find happiness. Find a job that you really like, then you will do really well. If you try to do something that you don’t like, you will not be successful or happy in work or your personal life."

On Sleep:

"Remember SLEEP! No one can function on too little. NO ONE."

On family:

“I think family is the most important thing on this earth. In a family, you learn so many things. There is a unity that nothing can compare to.”

On friends:

“A good friend is worth a lot. Even one good friend is worth a lot. Several acquaintances are worth nothing compared to a good friend who likes you, no matter what you do. All my friends are gone now, so cherish your close friends.“

“Staying in touch is important. A good friend stays in touch, even if it’s a letter or a phone call."

“You can get mad at them, they can get mad you, and you can still like each other.”

“Friends are worth tons; there's nothing like a true friend.”

On life in general:

“Always be yourself. Don’t try to be someone else. Be. Who. You. Are. Being yourself will get you further than being someone else. You may wish you were like someone else, but acting like them isn’t going to get you anywhere. Be true to yourself and who you are. It will get you far in your career and life.”

"Don’t compare yourself. Even at my age, 92, I even compare myself to these old folks here. We’re all different... I have to stop myself and say 'forget it! What am I doing? I’m me, and they’re they.’”

"You don’t have anything or that tells you what to do or what not to do, so you go and just try out what you want in life."