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9 Lessons from 90 Years

2 min

One year ago, I lost one of my best friends.

Her name was Arnolda Edith Vermet. She was my grandmother, and I called her Omi. Much of who I am today is because of her. She lived to be 90 years old. Here are 9 lessons that I learned from Omi.

Don’t take life too seriously.

Laugh at yourself. Don’t always judge or get frustrated. That won’t help anyone or yourself. Sometimes making a funny face is much more useful to help turn an orangutang face upside down.

Say no to things that aren’t important.

I was always a diligent daughter who obeyed everything growing up. I was miserable and confided in Omi for the courage to quit. That was up until I said no to my mom. I quit dance.

Always say thank you.

Those 2 words can go a long way. They mean more than you know. It immediately shows thoughtfulness. That you care about the actions of someone else’s than your own.

Pepper in surprises.

Being spontaneous in those little moments of ice cream runs can add so much color and joy to life. They seem little but a little surprise can turn a bad day upside down to end on a high note.

Quality time is more important than a gift.

For my 16th birthday, Omi gifted me my favorite cheese, ice cream, and tulips. I treasured this. She made the ordinary things we enjoy on a typical day to feel extraordinary.

Notice life’s simpler things.

Look at the swans on the lake as you drive by. Count the freighters. Look for the tiny hummingbirds. Notice the changing color leaves.

Find reward in restoring something.

Polishing your silver and shine your shoes. Make do with what you have. After the war in 1953, Omi was age 24 and sewed her own wedding dress with lace she found and made do.

Always find a positive.

The nazis were occupying her country in the Netherlands. Omi still celebrated her 16th birthday with a can of sweetened condensed milk. The family of 5 all shared the can of milk and treasured each teaspoon of sugar at candlelight.

The power of correct language.

Omi assimilated to American customs and became a stickler of proper grammar. She knew 4 languages. Omi made sure to always question how she communicated and be a perpetual student of life.

There are so many more lessons she passed onto from her life’s wisdom and I am beyond grateful.


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