Southern Voice: Katelyn Caughron 

“I’m 92-years-young,” my Great-Grandma Beck says. Sure, some would say she’s “old as dirt” and incapable of doing day-to-day activities, but she breaks the norm and still cruises the road daily. I have learned so much from her, and she has wise words that everyone could learn and grow from. You can find her on lunch dates with her close gal pals at Cracker Barrel or playing bingo on Tuesday nights. Oh, and she says, “No paparazzi, please.”

Here are five lessons I’ve learned from her that I think everyone could benefit from.

1. When life knocks you down, get back up again.

My great-grandmother has been through and seen it all. In her lifetime she has lost a husband and has outlived three of her kids. It’d be easy for her to let life kick her down, but instead, she embraces it with a new meaning. No matter what life puts you through, you just have to “keep on going,” as she says. After her husband, my great-grandfather, passed away, my great-grandmother didn’t even know how to drive. She began to work in a factory to take care of her children. She always talks about how the kindness of others gave her the courage to continue living and how to make a life for herself — and yes, she learned how to drive and still drives herself around to this day.

A smile never leaves her face!

At 92 years young, a smile never leaves her face!

2. Love unconditionally.

My great-grandmother has six siblings. Yes, I said six. How they all got along (I could barely get along with just one brother) is beyond me. Here’s the bizarre part: They’re all active and all over the age of 70. Talk about good genes! She tells me stories of how they bickered and fought, but at the end of the day, they all still loved each other. Even though they all live in different states and cities now, they make a point to talk every single day and visit each other when they can. And when they do, it’s always a reunion at Cracker Barrel. Their love has seen hard times, but they have never forgotten the power of loving each other with an unconditional love. I believe that this love is what has sustained them all into their silver years.

My great-grandmother taught me to love unconditionally.

My great-grandmother with all of her six siblings, minus the brother!

3. Don’t break promises.

Great-Grandma Beck has NEVER missed an event that either my brother or I have had. Every birthday party, every graduation, every Christmas, she’s been there. Before my graduation, I knew that she wasn’t feeling well, so I gave her the proposition to just stay in Dyersburg and I would come visit after. This firecracker wasn’t taking no for an answer. She made her way to Memphis, stayed at my cousin’s house during the graduation and watched the entire three-hour-long ceremony on the computer screen. When I came to the house afterwards to see her, she whispered to me, “I wasn’t going to miss this.” With every celebration for the family, she has kept her promise of being right there to cheer us on.

Never break a promise is one of the things my great-grandmother taught me.

Never break a promise. On this day, she showed up to my college graduation, even feeling under the weather.

4. Change is okay.

Great-Grandma Beck’s house was a dream. It had four bedrooms, a huge backyard and a water bed! To me, her house felt like a mansion, and I could not wait to go visit every time. She lived in that house for over 50 years and just recently sold it and moved into an assisted living apartment complex. She gave her furniture to family members and embraced the move like a champ! I think it was tougher on all of us than it was her. She has welcomed the change, made new friends, wins at BINGO every single time (so not fair) and is determined to teach others how to play Skip-Bo. Not only is change okay, it is beneficial at 92!

Sometimes, change is good!

Even when life throws curveballs at you, change is okay.

5. You’re always young at heart.

Nothing will ever top this moment, ever. This was a day that my sweet great-grandmother didn’t have to say a word or give me a piece of advice. A simple motioning of me to come to her on the dance floor was all that I needed. I didn’t care what was going on at my wedding, I didn’t care that I hadn’t eaten yet, and I didn’t even care that it was time to cut the cake. My 92-year-old great-grandmother boogieing to “Uptown Funk” was enough.

You are never too old to have some fun!

Here we are, dancing the night away at my wedding to “Uptown Funk.” Image: Whit Photography

While my sweet great-grandma may be getting older, she’s getting wiser and accepting life as it comes. Sometimes, we take life too seriously and need to remember the important things. Friends, family, loving and caring for one another … I hope these five pieces of wisdom will put a smile on your face today!

Katelyn is the Client Success Representative for StyleBlueprint in the city of Memphis. From a small town called Henderson, she moved to the 901 to attend the University of Memphis and has fallen in love with the city ever since. In her spare time, you can catch her teaching fitness classes or running at Shelby Farms Park. 

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