For as long as I can remember my mother has been my role model, and she still is now at age 101! Without a doubt, Myrna Billian has a real sense of purpose, something she's had for as long as I can remember. Together, we look back on her life, which was well lived.
Life didn't start that way for Myrna. In many ways, she was self-taught and came from an atypical upbringing. And so to my mom, security and community have always meant the world. And throughout her life she gave back to the community in many ways.
My mother was the first woman serving as president of our local chapter of B'nai Brith, asked to hold the office for two terms. Then Senator John F. Kennedy came to one of their meetings. Later, she joked that she should have said, "Ask not what B'nai Brith can do for you, but what you can do for B'nai Brith."
My mother's sense of purpose came from her heart. Quite simply, she wanted to improve the living conditions for people she had never met, and she shared that spirit universally—at temples, churches, civic groups and schools. It was a true sense of inspiration to many, especially to me.
At 101 Myrna may have slowed down a little, but she continues to be a motivator for me. I have always had a deep sense of giving back to the community, thanks to my mom. Through all my years as a television news anchor and reporter in Boston, I was proud to participate in a variety of fundraisers, which continues to this day. In fact, when we moved from Massachusetts to Florida, my mom's first question was, "Susie, what about your charities?”
We participate together from the heart, and my sense of purpose is rock solid. Is my mother thrilled that I sometimes have to leave her home when I attend my charity events? No.
Is she thrilled that I go to support my charities? Yes.
They say having a sense of purpose has positive benefits on health, as do happiness and social connections. With a mother who is 101 and still motivated to make a difference in the lives of others, I say 'bravo' and can attest to it.
Until next time,