“A good life is when you assume nothing, do more, need less, smile often, dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed you are.”
I’ve met two Centenarians in my life but knew of a few others back home. The two that I had the pleasure of celebrating with , one being a cousin of my grandfather, both gave similar responses when I asked what was it like to have lived 100 years and what were some of the things they felt contributed to their longevity.
1. Family: This seems to be universally important to centenarians. Being the matriarchs of their families seemed to have been something of pride and joy to them; it gave them great pleasure seeing and spending time with all the different generations that surrounded them.
2. A Positive Attitude: These women had gone through birthing their babies at home without modern day painkillers and a midwife or nurse, one squatting on the kitchen floor as she birthed her baby on newspapers on the floor. But even when times were rough, they saw the best in everything. Working from dust to dawn was dutiful for them, because it kept food on their tables, a roof over their heads and smiles on the faces of their children. They spoke of hardship almost as a right of passage and believed a positive yet realistic attitude is critical throughout one’s life.
3. Faith: This came as no surprise, as back home faith is what keeps us together. These two women had the faith of job. One said her faith saw the through 2 still births and a miscarriage. But she held the faith because God gave her three healthy babies. They both believed that they everyone was put on this Earth for a reason, some people’s reason just lasted longer than other.
4. Genetics: When asked if they both felt genetics had anything to do with it. They said, “maybe!” But they weren’t entirely sure because none of their parents had lived past 80 and here they were celebrating their 100th birthdays and for them, it was more the quality of life and not how long you lived that mattered most. Personally, I believe that living a long and healthy life begins with our lifestyle choices. It’s these choices that can influence our lives to vary degrees. But our genetic makeup makes a difference as well.
Both these ladies are long gone now, but whether you live to see 100 or not, there are lessons that can be learnt from anyone who had lived more years than you have.
©Etta D. Richards