Do I Become The Stories I Tell?


My mother is 90 years old. She walks, shops, quilts, cooks, cleans and floats up the stairs like a summer breeze. She can also squat or lean over and pull weeds (yes, big ones) as easily as someone much younger.

She has never truly considered the idea of decline for herself personally. She simply does everything she wants to do.

At the ripe age of almost 91, she does what she did when she was 50 or 60 or 70 or 80. The two things that have changed: she no longer drives regularly, although she has her driver’s license, and she takes an afternoon nap every day.

Mom at her 90th Birthday party

Mom doesn’t think about “not doing.” She thinks about doing whatever she wants to do without a second thought. She doesn’t think “can’t.” She thinks “can.”

She lives with my sister, and likes to be useful around the house, so she helps out every day. When I call her, she’ll tell me that she’s out walking the dog, or that she’s cleaning up the kitchen or busy beautifying a flower bed.

Once when Mom visited me (age 88), I found her perched on the edge of my tub, cleaning a greenhouse window. She was happy as a lark with her paper towels and Windex, making the glass shelves sparkle again. 

She reminds me that living simply and thinking simply has it’s advantages. She’s totally inspiring!


What do you speak or think about regularly? What do you predict or reinforce for yourself with your stories?

Do you lament about how you’re getting older? Or can’t get ahead? Or how someone is causing you trouble? Or life is hard or scary and here’s why?

Or do you give most of your time and attention to what’s going right or working well? What kind of conversations get the most airtime during your day?

Really, take a look.

The Universe is listening. Are you?

Are you listening to what you declare?  Expect?

Way back in the day, I knew a speaker, researcher and author named Ken Pelletier. At the time, he was studying and speaking mostly about longevity. He told me stories of people (often in remote areas of the earth) that he had spent time with and studied, and how unstressed these folks were about things that would drive the average American crazy.

He told me a story about going fishing with a particular tribe. They would happily hop into a fishing boat and start the motor without checking the engine or the gas tank. If they made it to a favorite fishing spot quite a long ways away, and ran out of gas or had engine failure, it simply didn’t matter. They would float aimlessly and wait for someone to come get them.

(Do I also vaguely remember that local homemade brew could have been involved…? Could be! ‘Twas a long time ago!)

In any case, they didn’t mind that something planned for a few leisurely hours took all day. Time and efficiency were not important. Time was not something they stressed over. Ever.

He studied a number of groups of people (who seemed to live longer and healthier) to flush out possible longevity factors. Was it food? Lifestyle? Attitude? The local shaman? A magic ingredient consumed by them, known only to them?

Or was it something no one had yet thought of?

Back in the U.S. he and his team designed an extensive questionnaire for Americans based on what they had learned and evaluated the results. It turned out that the questions they thought would be important predictors of health and longevity were not.

There was a throwaway question, however, that made all the difference. Of all the factors they had studied, this question was the only consistent predictor of health and longevity.

Basically, the researchers asked, “Do you expect to be alive five years from now?”

If the person answered yes, they usually were alive and well in five years. If they answered no, they weren’t.


What you expect matters.

What stories are you telling about yourself or your future?




aging, expectation, In Care of Relationships, Ken Pelletier, longevity, Terri Crosby

Comments (8)

  • This brought to mind a fav quote from Deepak Chopra “Cells are eavesdropping on our thoughts”.

    I so very much share this belief of how the stories we tell ourselves become our life stories.

  • Terri, I found this to be a great story and I want to be just like your Mom in my 90’s. And my answer to the 5 year question is an emphatic YES!!! I still have too much to do!

  • Sandy Richter Pearson

    Your Mom looks just like I remember her. Ellen Kimblad keeps me updated about all of you that were neighbors of theirs. You still sound as if you are still inquisitive about life, but I hope you still have that sense of humor you had in high school. I still remember accompanying your group when you sang “Three Little Maids,” if I am correct. I think there were three or six of you. I remember Holly Ewoldt and you. You brought the song to life and had fun with it. I’ve never had such a wonderful time accompanying a group, as I did yours. Those were the days! Take care and tell your family hello.

    • Yes, we were next door to Ellen and Swede. Dad and Swede used to go to farm sales together –and Minderd Mars (not sure how you spell his first name). Mom gets together will Ellen when she goes back to Paullina.

      And OH WOW! The “Three Little Maids”!!! I cannot tell you how terrified I was to sing in front of the whole school! There were three of us: Holli Ewoldt, Nancy Gaudian and me. And you accompanied!

      Oh, trust me, my sense of humor is still in tact, and it gets me through! It’s so interesting that you remember that, because I don’t remember myself as very funny back then. Apparently, I was :–))) I love that you think I was. (Can you tell me more about that?)

      I remember you as gentle. Also kind. Thanks for writing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the mailing list

Subscribe to our mailing list to get news, updates, event invitations, and special offers from Terri to help keep you inspired and engaged in your relationships. We will never share or sell your information to outside entities.

Get In Touch

North Carolina, USA

Talk with Terri

Connect with Terri