Learning From Centenarians

We all have life goals. One of my top life goals is to remain active, healthy, and really embrace wellness throughout life. Recently finished a few books about Centenarians, because I want to gain their insights and wisdom regarding what they did to hit 100+!

These 100+ year old people have always made me smile, but so many of these stories had me taking notes, crying, sharing the story out loud with others, and wanting to find more books to keep reading and learning.

What are some of the common traits that help them live to 100? My handwritten notes inside the front covers of all three books, that obviously impacted me the most, highlighted these areas of life:

Faith: Worship and believe. In something. And a willingness to give and be charitable.

Connection: Being around friends, family, and remaining social, as well as connected to a purpose. If that means making tortillas daily, and walking to the market to sell them, then so be it. That gave them the connection needed to keep going, at their pace.

Consistently physically active: Many of the children and grandchildren mentioned that their centenarian father or grandfather probably lived a long time, because they were always staying active on the farm, gardening, walking, traveling, or attending exercise classes.

Moderation: These centenarians really embraced the phrase, “all things in moderation”, especially with food, alcohol, (no)smoking, mood swings, etc. A bit of wine daily worked for some.

Sense of Humor: Many loved to laugh, and sought out being fun, funny, memorable, and unique. Being happy! And having a positive outlook, living peacefully with others.

Easy Going/Embrace Change: They understood the natural flow of life. The highs, the lows, and how to be resilient, as well as having the foresight to embrace change to forge ahead.

Water: They drank water, and ate from their own land. And were located near water, where it’s warm.

Lifelong Learner: Many of the stories focused on how they had to learn new skills, to handle job changes, relocations, and new things being introduced at rapid rates in the 1900’s.

Bottom line: keep one foot in front of the other, head up, living with no regrets, and moving forward in moderation. How are you doing with these? If you aren’t really focused on them, what do you want to focus on that’ll make you happy? In my future, I foresee myself interviewing centenarians, to share their incredibly resilient stories…and continuing to learn from their wisdom.

Jen Wilfong, Sept. 2, 2021

sources: If I Live to Be 100, by Paul Mobley; The Blue Zones, by Dan Buettner; Aging Gracefully, by Karsten Thormaehlen