Maria is a sponsored elder who lives in Mexico with her oldest son and his family. Maria’s husband passed away, and she now sells clothes at a local market to earn a small income. She is outgoing and enjoys staying active. Learn Maria’s secret to a long life and other wisdom she shares with us.
Q. What is your secret to a long life?
A. Don’t live an angry life. I’m not an angry person. I’ve lived 78 years with joy. Work hard and exercise the body. I’ve always worked, and it keeps me sharp.
My husband passed away five years ago, on January 4. I helped him walk, take showers and move around. Now that he is gone, I rest a lot more and I miss him. I sell used clothes in the local market — this is how I earn some income. I cook my own food because I don’t want to make it more difficult for my son and my daughter-in-law.
I forgot, you asked about my secrets to a long life, right? (Maria was laughing at herself by this point!) Don’t fall into vices because that will only lead you to trouble and a shorter life. You will end up stealing just to keep your vices.
I got married very young — I was only 15 years old. My husband worked very hard from sunrise to sunset. We had nine children, six boys and three girls. I treated my girls and boys equally; my boys learned how to make tortillas, wash clothes, sweep and mop. Treating people with equality is also very important.
Q. What are the most important things you learned from your mother?
A. My mother died when I was 7. I lived with my father. I learned to be honest and to never take something that didn’t belong to me. I learned to be a home-loving person, to take care of family and to be faithful to my husband. My husband and I were married for 57 years until he passed away. My children joke about finding me a new partner. I even got a proposal from our neighbor, but I did not accept the offer (she laughs).
Q. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A. I would love to go to Xcaret, a water park in Cancun, Mexico. I hear it is quite nice.
Q. What is your favorite food?
A. My favorite foods are “nopales” (from the cactus family), squash and vegetables. I like them in soup. I also like tuna, and my morning favorite is oatmeal.
Q. How has the world changed since you were a child?
A. The world has changed a lot. Before you could go out and be safe, but now it’s not like that. One day I was walking on the street, and a person driving saw me and turned his car around. He got out of the car, grabbed my hand and pushed me into the bushes. He stole my earrings and my chain, and he got in his car and drove off. I feel fortunate to be OK after that incident. I think the man was drunk or on drugs.
Q. What do you like most about Unbound?
A. I enjoy the people of Unbound. The staff are great people.They listen, and they understand us. I am treated well, and I treasure that.