My great-grandfather is 104 years old, and living a century has taught him a thing or two. Andy Anderson's life story is one for the big screen — he met my great-grandmother on a Saturday, and they married on the following Saturday. They stayed together until my grandma took her last breath 67 years later. In between those 67 years, they had two children, adopted another son, and were the greatest party throwers in the county (we have the pictures to prove it).
Without going to college, Andy worked his way to the top; he became the corporate manager of the dairy department of Safeway for the entire country. He earned the nickname Mr. Cheese, which eventually turned into Grandpa Cheese among the family — a name that has admittedly gotten a few brow raises. My point is, Grandpa Cheese has taught me a lot about life. I could think of no better person to give the world a few life lessons than him. Here's what he has learned in his 100 years.
- Always maintain a good sense of humor.
- Never be too good to start at the bottom.
- Exercise every single day, even when you don't feel like it.
- Don't spend more money than you make.
- Drink orange juice every day.
- Love at first sight is not a fable.
- Having a bad job is better than having no job at all.
- Eat around the mold; don't go wasting food.
- Your family is the most precious thing you will ever have in life.
- Eat sausage every day — it worked for me.
- Your life is delicate, and if you neglect yourself, you'll spoil. That's what cheese taught me.
- Don't ever be afraid to be your true self.
- Everyone has too many clothes. Wear what you have and quit buying more.
- You must be able to forgive, even if it's difficult to do.
- Save your money now and spend it later.
- Love is not always easy; sometimes you have to work at it.
- Find something comical in every single situation.
- If you're faced with a problem, don't delay trying to figure it out. But if there's no way to figure it out, you have to forget about it.
- Make sure you're doing what you love; don't be afraid to follow those dreams you have for yourself.
- Education is important, but not necessary. Life can be an education in itself.
- Explore your world and stay curious.
- Try not to take yourself so seriously.
- My full name is William Bradford James Anderson, and my initials always remind me to ask myself, "Why be just anybody?"
- Have common sense. Think about the most reasonable answer to every situation. If you don't have common sense, you're a bust.
- Life is a gift that you must unwrap. It's up to you to determine if what's inside will lead you to happiness or dismay. You have the power to make that decision for yourself.
If you're wondering what Grandpa Cheese is up to these days, he's riding his motorized scooter around Benicia, CA, and "planning on what I'm going to do when I start to get old," he says.
This post was originally published on August 20, 2015.