What I learnt from talking to a 102-year-old woman
Ageing into health, learning from the moment you're in, the power of femifesting… come spend an hour with the wisest woman I know, Dr Gladys McGarey
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A few months ago I read an article that took my breath away. The author was 102-years-old, and in it she spoke candidly about losing her partner in life and work after 46 years. Not because he died, but because he’d handed her divorce papers (that it turned out he’d been carrying around with him for weeks!). That would have floored most of us, but despite being side-swiped, Dr Gladys McGarey picked herself up, started a new medical practice with her daughter and then became a speaker, author and all-round inspiration. and all that at the age of 70.
Since then Dr Gladys, who’s known as the mother of holistic medicine, has received countless awards including the humanities award for outstanding service to mankind, at 85 she traveled to Afghanistan to teach rural women safer birthing practices, at her 90th birthday party she jumped out of a birthday cake and at 102 she became the proud owner of an adult tricycle! Can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve for her 103rd birthday next week!
Who is this woman? How does she do it? I had to know. Luckily, Dr Gladys was happy to come on The Shift podcast to tell me. The episode was such a smash hit, I thought you might like to have a chance to read the interview too.
Sam: I’m going to start with the really difficult question, sorry! In your 102 years, can you put a finger on the moment in your life that was the biggest shift?
Dr G: this very moment right now, because each moment of my life has been the most important moment at that time to be lived through. Now, the time that I looked in to Gandhi’s eyes was very memorable, but as far as important times are concerned, it’s each moment, as I put my energy into that moment to live it to the fullest becomes the most important moment of my life.
Did you always have that capacity?
I don't think I always had it, I think it you learn it. I call it “ageing into health”. It's something you begin to recognise each moment. If you tried to skip one moment of the entire process you'd miss out. We tell people to “just get over it”. That's foolish. You don't “just get over” things, you live through them. You learn lessons from them and they become important moments in your life. That’s the way it's been for me. I had to learn that.