96 and as tough as nails

19956_281375537025_8189890_nMy paternal grandmother has always been a source of tension for me. From when I was very very little, I was required to visit her at least once a year. And every single time i was told i had to… i kicked up a fuss. Why? Because she lives in the back of beyond… in a village tucked away in some remote hole.. amidst paddy fields and rubber trees. There is absolutely nothing to do there.

And most importantly, if you’ve met her.. you’ll know she takes no prisoners. Born in 1917, she was one of the very few women(or men) that had a college degree. She went abroad, refused to get married until she was nearly 35, ran a school full of unruly kids and takes orders from no one.

The woman’s got spirit and loads of it. The downside of all that? NOTHING is ever good enough. If she could do it in 1917.. ‘the heck are you doing with your life anyway?

Over the years though I’ve learnt to appreciate her a lot more(‘appreciate’ ¬†and NOT ‘agree’ being the operative word). She’s 96, as tough as nails and has never had a single ailment. NOT ONE. She hasn’t a clue what a headache is, and is absolutely convinced its a story made up by lazy people who want to get out of work.

She hates doctors and only ‘finally’ set foot in a hospital well into her 90’s when she had cataract in one eye.

And at an age where most people have lost their voice and their hearing.. she is still yelling at us LOUDLY.

So how does she do it?

Her spirit can’t be bought or replicated. But her lifestyle is really what keeps her this well preserved.

->The house she lives in is surrounded by acres and acres of wooded area.. not a car/bus or pollution creating vehicle in sight.

-> Her food is all locally sourced. Lots of fish from the rivers nearby, veggies grown in her own backyard and milk churned fresh from cows in nearby farms(she had her own cows for the longest time till she got too old to maintain them).

->The only grain she eats is rice. The only other form of starch is tapioca(locally grown)

->She has NEVER.. EVER eaten out. There are no restaurants in her town.. and she doesn’t get the point of spending more money than you need to, just so you can eat outside the comfort of your own home.

-> As far as she is concerned.. there is only one kind of oil. Coconut. Freshly pressed and bought loose from stores.

->All her food has coconut in it in some form (woot woot.. lauric acid). Either grated, or pressed or whole.

->She reads, she writes, she bothers to remember and call every one of her relatives on their birthday… even today.

->And most importantly.. she never let her spirit die out. She doesn’t care how many people disagree with her.. she will yell them down if she needs to. If she has an opinion.. it will get heard. If she wants to get something done. Consider it done.

I’ll probably never agree with her on several points. I don’t even bother to pretend i do anymore. But frankly, I also no longer wish she was different. She is one heck of a woman, and awesome just as she is. If i had half her grit, or even achieve half as much as she did in my time.. I’d die fulfilled.

Im massively, massively proud of her.



4 thoughts on “96 and as tough as nails

  1. Sounds like you have one heck of a grandmother.. what an impressive lady…and love the way you are incredibly proud of her..very nice..:)

  2. Sounds a lot like mine!!! My grandmom had to stop going to school in the 6th std to take care of 4 brothers and 1 sister and her ill, bed ridden mother. She lived till she was 99 and was tough as nails. Proud in spirit, indomitable in courage, practical that it sometimes annoyed, gifted in so many ways, generous to a fault and so much more. She’s everything I’d hope to be. Good blog Jo, made me nostalgic about mine. Cheers to all the amazing women out there!!!!

  3. Our grandparents never had gyms or crossfit boxes to go to. Yet most of them have lived long enough to have witnessed history unfold and the world change so much and at least 3 generations of their family grow up. All this is purely based on the purity of their lifestyles. Like you said it is hard to agree with them on most things but one cant but help admire them. Very touching article Jo.

    • Yup.. she still doesn’t get the point of ‘exercise’. Her sedentary life is starting to catch up to her(back pain 2 months ago).. but she is proof that a good diet is 70% of the battle won!

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