100 REASONS TO LIVE by Mel Castro, professional coach, expert in job reinvention for women +35

Are there reasons to keep going, even in the most difficult times?

In her 100 years of existence, Florinda, my grandmother, continues to find reasons to live. She has witnessed the departure of many of her loved ones, including her husband Eugenio and two of her grandchildren, among them my brother Adrián, who left unexpectedly at the age of 37 just 18 months ago. Despite these losses and the challenges of her aging, “Flori” always finds reasons to move forward.

Until she was 94 years old, her active body and mind allowed her to take care of herself and her home. However, for six summers, this centenarian Italian has resided in a place adapted to her needs, where she has made new friends and has turned this space into her home. Her resilient spirit prevails as the years go by, reminding us of the importance of adapting to new circumstances.

The beginnings of the relationship between Florinda and Argentina date back to 1949, when at the age of 25 she embarked for Buenos Aires with her little daughter, almost 2, fleeing the aftermath of the Second War. This act of courage and faith in an uncertain future marked the beginning of a life full of challenges and achievements.

As part of the wave of European migrants who contributed to the development of our country, Florinda knew how to overcome the limitations of the time. Just a year after her arrival, she gave birth to two more daughters, twins, when they only had one room to live in. Her determination and effort became pillars to build a new safe and prosperous home with her husband and her 3 daughters.

Florinda, a skilled dressmaker and passionate cook, faithful to her Calabrian roots, passed on her traditions to subsequent generations. Her home was a refuge where the family gathered every Sunday and on special occasions, demonstrating that true wealth lies in emotional ties.

The initial perception of Florinda as a firm and rigorous woman is completed when discovering her joy, generosity and charisma. Her ability to reinvent herself and survive the onslaught of her life is a legacy she has passed on to her family. Today I recognize in my grandmother one of the sources of my own determination, resilience and ability to move forward “in spite of.”

The “nona”, as we call her, today deals with the inevitable ailments of age while worrying about the well-being of others. Always with a smile, her vitality allows her to share stories and jokes, despite the linguistic barriers of Spanish, which she never fully overcame.

After a hundred laps around the sun, Flori maintains his lively spirit, turning his life into an eloquent testimony of the importance of searching for our ikigai, those reasons or purposes for our existence. Florinda’s determination to find meaning and joy in each day is inspiring. She still maintains her desire to talk at all hours, enjoy time with her daughters and grandchildren, stay informed and, from time to time, even sing a Calabrian song.

When asked about her long life, Florinda reminds us that faith in the future, contributing to the well-being of those around us and finding a purpose in each stage of life are fundamental elements to live fully. It is my hope that this story, more than a chronicle of years, inspires us to reflect on our own ikigai, those deep reasons that drive us to move forward even in the most challenging moments.

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