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“That’s Delicious”, and Other Advice From My Grandmother

Flickr Creative Commons: Gerry Brush

My Grandmother, Dorothy, turned 103 last week. No, that’s not a typo. She was born in 1916 in Lethbridge, Alberta. She grew up in a middle-class family with one brother. She graduated high school and worked at Sears. My grandfather asked her to a dance when she was sixteen and he was fourteen (cheeky bugger!) and she said yes. They married after seven years of dating on November 11, 1940. He died four years ago, at the age of 97, in the year when they would have celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. They were together for more than 80 years. Everyone, including my doctor, told me that she would likely be dead in six months, their lives so intertwined that she literally could not go on with out him. And yet… here she still is.

I often get asked what the secret to her success is. My cheeky answer? Cocktails. But there’s some truth to that. I went to see her in October. It might be morbid, but at that age, it feels like every visit that I have with her will be the last. She keeps mostly to her bed, sleeping a lot, but when she’s awake, she enjoys watching the golf on TV (or any sports really) and she is always awake for her 4 PM cocktail. We chatted for a bit and she asked me about my life. She talked about how lucky she was to be able to be in her own house (with help) and to have people come visit her. Right on schedule at 4, her helper brought her her rum and ginger ale (it used to be coke, not sure how the change happened). She lifted her glass, took a sip, and said “That’s delicious!”

And there it was folks, the epiphany. The secret to how she’s lived this long, the reason she’s outlasted my grandfather etc: she is still able to find joy in simple things, including a drink she’s had every day for most of her adult life.

Imagine if we all approached life this way? Imagine if I approached my writing this way? Not as a chore, or a thing that had to be accomplished, but as a thing to be enjoyed, to be savored, to be delicious?

I am by nature a bit cynical as a person. These times do not help. But I am also a lucky individual. I’ve published a lot. I have another career that I enjoy. I have fans. I mean fans! That’s so amazing when I really think about it. People who eagerly await my next book, like I have done for so many other authors. I know I don’t appreciate it enough. I don’t slow down and take stock of where I’ve come. I don’t pat myself on the back just for even writing a whole novel in the first place. But I should! We all should. We should all celebrate the deliciousness of life, whatever that might be for us because we are lucky. Whether published or not. Whether struggling or not. Whether we feel it enough.

We can look for the delicious moment in each day and savor it.

Who’s with me?

About Catherine McKenzie

A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine McKenzie practices law in Montreal, where she was born and raised. An avid skier and runner, Catherine’s novels, SPIN, ARRANGED, FORGOTTEN, HIDDEN, and FRACTURED, were all international bestsellers and have been translated into multiple languages. HIDDEN was a #1 Amazon bestseller, and a Digital World Bestseller for five weeks. Her fifth novel, SMOKE, was an Amazon bestseller, picked as a Best Book of October 2015 by Goodreads and one of the Top 100 Books of 2015 by Amazon.

Her latest release, THE GOOD LIAR, released on April 3rd.


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About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.