This month Tao Porchon Lynch turns 100 years old. Or maybe I should say 100 years young. At age 100 she is still active, teaching yoga daily, practicing ballroom dancing and driving herself around in a little smart car. She is a spry little old lady. I look at pictures of her and she's always smiling a big bright genuine smile. As I was tooling around the internet doing research for this piece, I came across an interview with photographer Paul Mobley about his book If I Live to Be 100. That photo project was formed by accident. Mobley was traveling the country photographing homesteads for his American Farmers book. So many of those farmers turned out to be 100 or even older. By the end of it all, he had taken over 30,000 pictures and he was surprised by how many of those pictures where portraits of centenarians. This inspired him to take pictures of centenarians across all fifty states. Mobley would engage each photographic subject in conversation at the beginning to each session. Every single person had stories to tell. They all had advice for living a long life, but the advice that really stuck with Mobley was "Just live your life. Be happy."
That advice sounds like it could have easily fallen out of Tao's mouth.
I hear this perfectly reasonable advice and ask myself "is it really that simple?" or am I getting caught up in the planning and preparation of things to just live my life? Am I happy? That might be the toughest question to ask myself and expect to get an honest answer, but that's why I have a therapist. Then I think about the centenarian who may have said those words. These are people who were full on adults with grown children when the internet became a household thing. This doesn't mean that their lives were simpler by any means but there definitely was a living of life without the comparisons to the perfect moments we see captured in Instagram feeds and pinned to Pinterest. The thing that I am reminded of by this simple piece of advice is that just living your life encompasses all of it. Just living your life is more than jumping out of airplanes and chasing rainbows. It is the day to day tasks of getting up and going to work. It's the dirty dishes in the sink, the clothes in the laundry hamper, the gutters clogged with tree debris. Just living your life includes far more not so perfect moments.
Those not so perfect moments are what makes the moments when we can chase those rainbows so spectacularly perfect.
I am thankful for the wisdom that comes with age. I am thankful for those imperfect moments.