What are the secrets to long life? With advanced medical technology and all the advice of nutritionists and health experts, it would seem like it shouldn’t be such a big mystery. However, whenever someone turns one hundred years old, there is some journalist somewhere in the world who makes headline news writing about it. So, living long is still a very big deal. What makes centenarians so special?

According to Jessie Gallan, a one-hundred-nine-year-old woman, it all comes down to eating porridge and not getting involved in the troublesome opposite sex.  From the tender age of thirteen, she has eaten plenty of porridge every day, exercised regularly, chosen to surround herself with lovely people, and avoided men who, in her own words, are “more trouble than they’re worth”. As a happily married woman myself, I am hoping that the lack of marriage and long life is just a coincidence.

At one-hundred-sixteen-years of age, Gertrude Weaver was born in an entirely different century, the 1800s. It was her belief that by simply being kind, she was rewarded with long life. Although she did not drink or smoke, she still believes a lifestyle of kindness to others is the key to longevity. I personally like this take on the trick to living long.

The man’s point of view can be heard from Alexander Imich, a one-hundred-eleven-year-old fellow from New York City and Duranord Veillard, a man of one-hundred-eight-years-old. Alexander claims his long life is due to eating healthy, abstaining from alcohol and the sports of swimming and gymnastics. Duranord, like Ms. Gallan, credits a daily portion of porridge and cup of tea. He also attributes his long life and good health to a diet of fruits, vegetables and fish. Throughout his lifetime he always began his day with pushups. However, I personally think the real key to his long life may lie in his eighty-two year marriage to wife Jeanne, who is only three years younger than he.

A one-hundred-fourteen-year-old woman from San Diego, Adelina Domingues, was a true marvel. Throughout her amazingly long life she never suffered a fractured bone, took no medications and never once had a hospital stay or even a visit to a beauty salon. She claimed her secret to long life was in the fact that she never smoked, drank alcohol and was devoted to her religion.

Despite the fact that many of these old-timers credit healthy eating for longevity, Susannah Mushatt Jones, clocking in at one-hundred-sixteen-years-old, has defied the theory on long life through a good diet. She has enjoyed rich taboo foods all her life, especially eggs and buttery grits for breakfast. She believes the secret to long life has more to do with love and generosity than with the food you consume.

Ruth Coben, a one-hundred-three-year-old weight lifter from New York City also enjoys Pilates on a weekly basis. She remains among the working class, writing her fashion blog that targets senior women. Her philosophy is that as long as you can move around, you should exercise. She celebrates every day and doesn’t believe in calendars. I think I have found my idol and hero.

One-hundred-three-year-old George Boggess believes you can walk your way to long life. He is not a fan of riding in the car to get around town, preferring to walk. He even did a stint of walking when he marched with Martin Luther King Jr. I like this idea because walking is one of my favorite forms of exercise.

So, it doesn’t seem that there is any real mystery to living a long life. I don’t drink alcohol or smoke so I’m already a major player in the long life game. I eat fairly healthy but I suppose I could up the stakes. I walk a lot so that part of the game plan is in the bag. With my husband by my side and the two of us cheering one another on, I believe we may just make it into double overtime and live longer than anyone else on Earth. I look forward to the challenge.

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