My mother turned 90 this month and we had a party for her. It was a wonderful celebration, full of fun and merriment. Many members of our extended family and some of our friends presented songs, dances, poems, dramatic readings and speeches. They were all excellent and Mum felt great! Mum loves music and the band played her favourite songs. She was very happy. Watching Mum made me realize that there are some things to consider and apply if we wish to live a long serene and gracious life. In this post I share some of these ideas with you.

Avoid Envy

All her life Mum has never been envious of anyone. Other people may have had more money, a better lifestyle and fame but she did not feel any envy. She was, and still is, happy with what she has. If you feel any envy, all you need to do is to tell yourself that you are happy for the people you envy. Look at your own life and you will find so much for which to be grateful. Without envy in your life you will be fulfilled and life will be fabulous.

Be Positive and Take Charge

Another point to remember is that you are in charge of your life. Do not allow your emotions to run amok. You alone can make yourself happy. You can take steps to be happy. Stay positive always. Avoid negative thoughts. Forget about things in the past which caused you anger, frustration or unhappiness. Tell yourself that even when things are bad or going wrong, they will change. The situation will get better. Just live each day happy.

Help Others

Another lesson I have learnt from my mother is that we should always help others. We should help them with small things like holding a door open for them. We should help them with their big problems and we should help society as a whole to live a better life. When she was young, my mother worked hard to improve the lives of so many people. She always had a listening ear for others and she would go out of her way to find the appropriate support and help for them. Her generosity and kindness over the years has helped her stay serene and happy now in her old age.

Now that she is old, I notice that often when a problem arises for her or one that is somehow related to her, somewhere a solution appears and the problem is solved. Perhaps this is the benefit of the good she did when she was young.

Be Polite and Courteous

When one is polite and courteous to others one will always feel good. You come across as a gracious person and your interactions with others are always friendly. This gives you much pleasure and you stay happy. Mum will thank everyone she meets for a task they may have done for her. She also greets people in a friendly manner. I am of the view that to be serene and gracious one should be polite and courteous to others.

Good Health

Keeping good health is of primary importance to being happy in old age. We need to sleep well and eat well. My mother is on various supplements and vitamins. She has a diet rich in vegetables and fruits. She loves yoghurt and ice-cream, bread and cheese. Mum also loves cakes and biscuits.

Smile and Laugh

To stay gracious too, one should smile a lot more. My mother will smile at everyone, friends, family members and total strangers. People react well to her when she does this. Sometimes she has a smile on her face when she reads the newspapers. Mum also laughs often. She laughs when she watches television programmes or films. She laughs when people share a funny story with her. At mealtimes, I often recount incidents and experiences which I encounter. Laughter is very good for all of us and it is as someone once said, “the jam on the toast of life.”

Art, Nature and Architecture

For many years my mother lived in an apartment which had a magnificent view of the sea. It helps to stay happy when we surround ourselves with beautiful things. It is quite refreshing to wake up in the morning and be in a beautiful room. Likewise we feel relaxed and good when we are able to walk in a splendid garden and eat in a room which is attractively decorated. Being surrounded by beautiful things will make you feel at peace, joyous and wonderful. This is why it is essential to travel and stay in different places so we can see many beautiful scenes. When we appreciate art, nature and architecture, we feel joyous and happy. As we age we can reflect on all that we have seen and we will feel peace and serenity.

Be Well-Groomed

When she was young, my mother was always well groomed. At 90 my mother still loves to dress and look good. She tries to match her clothes with her shoes or slippers. She has a collection of costume jewellery and she will select her brooches and her rings. She loves perfume and will spray some on herself every day. I can remember that my grandmother doing this too. Staying well-groomed or just putting in the effort to look smart, will make us feel happy with ourselves. We stay serene and gracious.

Ignore What Others Think

My mother has never bothered about what other people think of her. She was an independent spirit when she was young. She lived her life in the way that she wanted. She did not allow other people to cramp her style and stop her from doing what she what she wanted to do. She was always herself and she ignored the critical views that other people had of her. This ability to be herself has contributed to her being happy.


In conclusion there is much that we can do to stay serene and gracious in our old age. Start today and life will be fabulous when you get to 90. I leave you with these two quotations:

When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.
Victor Hugo

As we grow older, we must discipline ourselves to continue expanding, broadening, learning, keeping our minds active and open.
Clint Eastwood


  1. I agree your Mum is 90 years young. Abraham Lincoln once said: ” And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the Life in your years”.

  2. Hi Zaibun!

    Thank you so much for sharing advice for healthy and intact longevity from someone who exhibits all those qualities herself! With the clarity of mind that she has, she deserves to have celebrated her ninetieth birthday and we hope and pray that she will have many more to come.
    If this is anything to do with genes (and I know it is!) then you have a lot to look forward to and even more to be grateful for.
    Many thanks for bringing a little sparkle into our lives!
    Best wishes and God bless!


    PS: I think Woody Allen’s advice for longevity is cautionary but relevant:

    “You can live to be a hundred if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.” Woody Allen (1935- )

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