“Did you know I’m 100 now? I think since I made it this far I’m going to try for 105.”
My brother was sitting in his regular restaurant/bar last Friday night when he saw two familiar faces. Our dad’s aunt and cousin were getting up from their booth, having just finished their dinner. Dad’s aunt turned 100 years old in January. Although she never smoked and never drank that I know of, she also has some of the characteristics that we are being told do not lead to longevity. She is an “apple” shape, carrying most of her weight in her midsection. She never ran or swam or joined a gym. She eats pretty much whatever she wants, which is mostly Pennsylvania Dutch home cooking. Her mother died at a young age from cancer, and her sister-my grandmother- also died of cancer. Not fantastic genes on that. And yet…… here she is. Not only has she made it to the century point, but also she has a pretty darned good quality of life.
What I’ve always noticed about Aunt Ruth is that she seems to be sort of laid back. I’ve not spent a tremendous amount of time with her, but the times we have spent in one another’s company she always seemed to be calm. She hits me as someone who just takes life for what it is and kind of rolls with it. She enjoys things and doesn’t seem to dwell on the negative. Maybe there is a lesson to be learned here. There is no question that there is pretty conclusive medical evidence as to the benefits of exercise and a healthy diet. Perhaps we need to add to that the benefits of stress reduction. And the optimism of a 100-year-old lady deciding there is no good reason she shouldn’t shoot for 105. I’m betting she reaches her goal.