I recently came across a great article about Susannah Mushatt Jones, currently the oldest documented woman on the planet. What a remarkable woman! Born in 1899, as of this writing she is 116 years old and she still wakes every morning to sit in the sun, eat her breakfast and grab cat naps throughout the day.
As the world’s oldest woman, Ms. Jones has seen a lot in her lifetime. Born the child of African American sharecroppers in Alabama and working in the fields alongside her parents, she refused to sentence herself to a life of back-breaking servitude. She knew the pain and tears that came of endless physical labor and cruel people. To have an opportunity to break away, she worked diligently and graduated high school. When she was unable to afford to go to college, she moved to New Jersey in 1922, then on to New York. For much of her life she helped families in domestic positions. She never gave birth to any children, but she worked for families loving and caring for theirs as her own. All the while, she helped family members get on their feet and established in New York.
Ms. Jones has lived through seven wars, the Civil Rights Movement, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the first black U.S. President to be elected. She is the only black woman born before 1900 to vote for President Obama. Twice. The leaps and bounds society has made since her birth are mind-boggling, but what’s even more so is that Ms. Jones has lived over a century as a black woman in a tough world and never given up. Not even on life, as she still finds her bliss in the warmth of the sun on her face, the company of her family and bacon.
Simple? Yes, but profound at the same time. She has chosen to find those small grains of good amidst the chaos and, despite her tired body and blind eyes, reap the rewards of living simply and simply living.