Inspiration for growing old: “stay positive and eat well”

Rene (in the hat), and Joyce enjoying her favourite song

My neighbour Joyce was 78 on Sunday, and on Saturday night she invited us over to have drinks with her friends and family. I was tired and looking forward to a night in front of the tv, but I love Joyce and her three daughters, grand children and great grandchildren, so I made the effort to go. As usual there was lots of her delicious homemade curry and patties, copious amounts of dark rum and all of her friends and family.

Joyce is the kind of women everyone should have as a neighbour, she has lived in out street since the 60’s when she bought her house for £3000. She looks out for every one, is always up for a chat and is one of the most open minded people I know. Her daughters sometimes attempt to get her to move closer to them, but she always replies “the only way you gonna get me out of here, is in a box.”

She originally comes from Guyana and was keen for me to meet her friend Rene, who is also from there. I had heard about Rene many times from Joyce, as at age 96 she had been photographed by Rankin for the Dove ad campaign to ‘widen the definition of beauty.’

Auntie Rene (as Joyce’s family call her) had walked to the party from her flat just off the High Street and was enjoying chatting to everyone.

Auntie Rene in her younger days (she's 96 here)

Half way through the evening Joyce put on her favourite reggae song and started to dance. She moved like a young women and as I watched her dance and Rene enjoy the music, I felt humbled and lucky to be in their company.

They are both beautiful women, very slim, with amazing bone structure and stunning skin, but most of all they have an inspiring attitude to life. They are not rich in money terms and live relatively simple lives, but they are surrounded by friends and family and enjoy life as much as they can.

Rene will be 104 on her next birthday and puts her long life down to “a positive attitude and healthy eating” and Joyce’s parting words of wisdom, as she gave us a big hug, were, ” you’ve got to smile, why would you not”.

 

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