An almost centenarian who lives alone, still drives, pays her bills online, texts loved ones on her iPhone and never misses happy hour, is doling out advice for living a long and active life in a series of positive yet feisty videos on TikTok and Instagram.
“You’ve got to enjoy life,” Mildred Kirschenbaum, 99, of Boca Raton, Florida, told Fox News Digital.
“You’re only walking through it once,” she added. “If you’re up there in years, do yourself — not your children, not your friends, not your world — yourself, a favor: Enjoy everything. Don’t sit home and moan and groan and say, ‘all I do is walk to the refrigerator.’ Do something.”
She explains that some people she knows complain about the food they are served or that their children don’t call them enough — but said they have to turn around their negative way of thinking.
“If the food isn’t quite right, so have an extra dessert,” Kirschenbaum told Fox News Digital.
“If you’re not smart when you’re young, you only get dumber,” she said. “Does that make sense?”
“You’re only walking through it once. If you’re up there in years, do yourself — not your children, not your friends, not your world — yourself, a favor: Enjoy everything.”
— Mildred Kirschenbaum
At 99, Kirschenbaum lives on her own, by choice, she said. She has a son living in Orlando, Florida, and a daughter who lives in New York.
Her daughter, Gayle Kirschenbaum, 60, a writer and Emmy award-winning filmmaker, encouraged her mother to record her nuggets of wisdom, which she then started sharing on her own social media about a year ago.
@gaylekirschenbaum #attitude #100yearsold #wisewords #lookatusnowmotherdocumentary ♬ original sound – gaylekirschenbaum
In the video, Mildred Kirschenbaum expresses her gratitude for having a family that loves and cares for her.
“I cannot believe it, that I’m 99 and still have my marbles,” she told viewers. “I’m the luckiest woman in the world that I have a family who, I think, adores me. I’m not sure. But even if they don’t, they call, they check on me. And there are so many people who don’t hear from their children or their family, so I’m very lucky.”
But Kirschenbaum’s relationship with her daughter was apparently not always so rosy.
Gayle Kirshenbaum even made a short film called “My Nose” (2007), which she said is the story of her mother’s relentless campaign to get her to have a nose job. She never did, she said.
That film landed Gayle Kirshenbaum on the cover of the Washington Post with an article that stated: “If you have a mother like Gayle Kirschenbaum [has], you better get yourself into psychoanalysis.”
Gayle said she asked her mother if she would be willing to work on their relationship in front of the camera.
“I kind of knew she’d say, ‘Yes,’” Gayle said. “How many people have a mother who would be willing to put themselves out there?”
“In telling the story, I [had] to go back to my parents and find out, what made you who you are today,” she explained.
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“What happened in your youth? My father’s being shipped to the South Pacific and the letters that she wrote him … I guess there were many more, but only a handful apparently were saved, which I’m grateful to have. Her letters are unbelievable. It’s incredible writing. And what was she, 17? But brilliant, brilliant writing.”
“I’m sorry,” she tells her daughter in the video. “I hope you forgive me. But I feel you did because we talked to each other. So now, I’m trying to forgive myself.”
Mildred Kirshenbaum shares different pieces of advice and funny stories on her TikTok and Instagram. (Gayle Kirshenbaum)
In another video about forgiveness, Kirschenbaum describes how it has allowed her and her daughter to now be traveling companions and best friends.
“Why carry an unnecessary burden,” Kirschenbaum told Fox News Digital.
Even though she is nearly 100 years old, Mildred Kirshenbaum has appeared to stay up to date on technology including online banking. (Gayle Kirshenbaum)
“We live in a computer world,” Kirschenaum said. “Either you go with the flow or you fall off the train. This is a tech world. If you have a computer and you don’t know how to use it, there’s a book called ‘Computers for Dummies.’ Don’t say, ‘I don’t know how to retrieve emails.’ There’s no such thing as, ‘I don’t know.’”
Kirschenbaum has an iPad, an iPhone and a Microsoft computer to help her stay in touch with people, get information she needs, play an occasional game of Words With Friends, film her videos, pay her bills and do her banking.
“The only checks I mail are birthday gifts,” Kirschenbaum said. “Everything else is online. Learn how to do the basic, simple things. I’m not asking you to do [anything] sophisticated. Simple.”
“Taste it. If you don’t have enough salt, add it. Don’t be afraid to improvise.”
One key to longevity, Kirschenbaum said, is getting out and about — being social.