When people learn about my (Rob’s) grandma and how fit she is, they say the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. That’s a very flattering thing to hear, because I think she’s one of the most inspiring people that I’ve ever met!
The video below doesn’t actually show all the exercise she does in a day, but I included the part where she runs to the kitchen to check on the pasta because that’s what she does. She runs all day. She runs to the phone to get it, she runs to the door when someone’s there, she runs to the television to catch an instant replay of whatever sport she’s watching. (And notice how she ignores my offers to help her open the jar of spaghetti!) She’s rarely off her feet, except to eat dinner and watch her sports and her nightly game shows of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. She told me that when she bakes cookies for the widowers in her area, she jogs to the houses when she delivers them.
I also included something she told me years ago that I wrote down: “It’s so important for people to think happy thoughts. You’ve got to think happy in order to be happy. If you want to be sad all the time and feel sorry for yourself, it’s dragging you down and you don’t know it.”
Notice how she said, if you want to be sad. Here’s the difference between happy people and sad people: choice. You can choose the thoughts that are going through your mind and you can choose to move your body to stimulate the feel-good chemicals in your brain. The problem is, as she said, if you allow yourself to choose the sadness, it will drag you down and you won’t even realize the terrible cycle you’ve gotten yourself into.
Years ago, she lost her daughter, my aunt Wendy, to cancer. Then she lost her husband to heart disease. She survived breast cancer. Since she trained as a nurse, she’s taken care of many of her ailing friends, some of whom have died in her arms. Every time I talk to her, she’s going to another funeral for an old friend. She has many reasons to be sad, and she allows herself to feel sad, but then she chooses to be happy. Her “man-friend,” Steve, has helped her a lot with her perspective after going through so much loss, but the fact that she chooses to wake up every day and put one foot in front of the other and walk those stairs is amazing to me, and I can’t say that I could choose the same. So this apple may indeed have fallen far from the tree, but that doesn’t stop me from looking up to her every day and wondering, what would my grandma do?
Without further adieu, here’s my grandma’s exercise routine. Is she the cutest or what??