My 91-year-old grandmother still travels internationally and gardens. These are her other secrets to longevity.

Meredith Wilshere's grandmother on a plane.
Meredith Wilshere's grandmother still travels internationally.Courtesy Meredith Wilshere
  • My 91-year-old grandmother loves making new friends and is always talking to strangers.

  • She calls her friends all the time and travels often, and even takes international trips.

  • Her busy social life and love of new adventures both contribute to her longevity.

Longevity is a gift. I've been very fortunate to see three of my grandparents reach their 90s, and while two have passed, I was able to celebrate my grandmother's 91st birthday last September.

When I tell people about my grandmother and her zest for life, it is always received with surprise, shock, and awe. She travels, she gardens, she keeps a robust social calendar, and shows no sign of slowing down.

She is always making new friends and talking on the phone

My 91-year-old grandmother, who we lovingly refer to as 'Grosi,' loves to chat. She can spend hours talking on the phone or chatting with people she meets at the airport, cashiers at Macy's, you name it. She is always looking to strike up a conversation and find a way to cheer up a stranger. Once, when we were traveling together and our flight was delayed, I looked around to find her seated next to a family, asking them about their lives, and passing time by making new friends.

We recently got her a cellphone so we can be a part of the family group chat, where she uses the talk-to-text feature to drop in long messages to the family. Whether it's with her sisters in Switzerland or with me on a Tuesday night, she's always on the phone, catching up and sharing stories. One of the secrets to her longevity is these connections. She's always having new experiences, making new friends and getting new stories to tell along the way.

She loves hosting people, and treats everyone with kindness

I grew up less than an hour away from Grosi, and every time I would visit, the house would be filled with conversation, music, and a lively attitude. During the summer, she hosts parties and lunches at her house, constantly having a seemingly revolving door of friends and family to come over and visit. Stories, BBQ and napkins are passed around the table with Grosi at the helm, telling tales of our family, summers passed and laughing.

She has the best attitude, is always in good spirits, loves to garden, and feeds the birds that come to her house in the morning. I've never heard her say a mean word to anyone; she treats everyone she talks to with kindness, respect, and humor.

Meredith Wilshere's grandmother sitting at a table and knitting.
Meredith Wilshere's grandmother is 91 years old and still travels internationally.Courtesy Meredith Wilshere

She still travels internationally

In addition to having a robust social calendar locally, she travels both domestically and internationally. Most recently, we celebrated her 91st birthday in Las Vegas. When she's not at home on the phone talking with her friends and family, she travels to Austin, Asheville, and Las Vegas, and then travels to Switzerland to visit family. She's usually on the move, expanding her horizons and constantly having new experiences. When we travel together, I see how many friends she makes along the way.

With so much being written about today's loneliness epidemic and its impact on the general population, I look to my grandmother as an inspiration to stay connected to old friends and new. She is connected to everyone and everything, calling internationally, staying up to date with friends and family and asking them about their days. Her horizons only expand and never shrink, and she's inspirational to watch, always looking to learn something new, meet a new friend, or have a new travel experience.

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