Plan now for the last two decades of life

When Anna Mary Robertson was a little girl, her father once dreamed that they were in a large crowded hall and all of the people were clapping and shouting.
He couldn’t imagine what the fuss was about until he saw Anna Mary high above the rest, stepping from one shoulder to another, waving and smiling.
Anna Mary’s mother thought the dream frivolous and said so. But more than 80 years later, Anna Mary wished her visionary father could have been there to see the dream come true.
If only he could have seen his 90-year-old daughter having tea with President and Mrs. Truman.
Anna Mary’s early life was uneventful, even difficult. She began to earn her living at age 12 as a “hired girl” and was married at 27. Anna Mary and her husband, Thomas Moses, raised five children. She was an excellent mother and grandmother.
But by the time Anna Mary neared her 80th birthday, she was ready for new challenges. She gardened and processed the produce. And she began to paint a few pictures.
When it was time for the county fair, she entered jam, canned fruit, and paintings. Anna Mary won prizes for the fruit and jam, but none for the paintings.
Ironically, it was only a short time later that a New York City art collector discovered the work of “Grandma Moses.”
Even as a little girl, Anna Mary had liked to draw—lively, joyful pictures. She sometimes used grape juice or berries to add bright colours. “Anything that was red and pretty.”
But as far as serious art, Grandma Moses wrote in her autobiography, “I started to paint in my old age.”
When the art collector first came for Anna Mary’s paintings, he wanted 10 by the next day. Unfortunately, she could scrounge up only nine.
Always resourceful, Anna Mary looked at one of her largest paintings and thought to herself, “If I could find frames in the morning, I could cut that right in two and make two pictures.”
It was some time before the collector discovered to his dismay what Anna Mary had done, and then he wanted to know what had ever made her cut her best picture in two.
For the next two decades, Grandma Moses lived a life full of art openings and visits with dignitaries. A life of giving radio interviews and seeing her paintings on millions of Christmas cards.
Having tea with presidents and millionaires. And never having to worry about money.
Once when asked how she handled it all, Grandma Moses said simply, “Oh, I don’t think about fame much, I keep my mind on what I am going to paint next.”
But Grandma Moses was always clear about one thing—if she hadn’t painted, she would have done something else. Probably, she speculated, she’d have raised chickens or served pancake suppers to earn money.
“No,” said Grandma Moses, “I could never sit back in a rocking chair.”
So, what about you? Have you found your gift for the last two decades of life? If not, start looking today. Whatever you do, don’t ever consider leaving the planet until you’ve accomplished the work you were born to do.
Marie Snider is an award-winning healthcare writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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