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How to live to 100 (and beyond) | Destination 100

How to live to 100 (and beyond)   

The purpose of this website is to chronicle my journey to at least age 100.  Nothing happens by accident. There is much to learn from others who are also on this same journey. Perhaps the best way to learn how to live to 100 is to observe and study those who have achieved this milestone and are looking beyond.

There are many theories about why some of us live long lives and others do not.  How to live to 100? There are 3 things I see in people who are aging with enthusiasm have in common:

 

  1. Desire – They want to live for a long time.
  2. Attitude – They have a positive attitude toward life in general.
  3. Action – They take action to stay healthy.

DESIRE

Many people accept the idea that they will probably live approximately the same number of years as their parents, grandparents, and others in their immediate family.  

“It’s in my genes.” they will say.

“There is a great deal of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc, in my family.”  

You fill in the blank.  They believe their fate is predetermined.  They will even say that they do not want to live to be old because they associate age with suffering.  

No matter how young or how old you may be, you can always have desires and you can always have fun.  Have you been everywhere you want to go? Have you tried everything you want to try? No. Good. The longer you live the more opportunities you have to enjoy more, accomplish more, give more and continue to grow.

Several years ago I spoke at a large luncheon.  The emcee introduced Mr. Johnson, one of the members of the audience and led the group in “Happy Birthday.”  It was his 100th birthday.

After the program, I went over to introduce myself and personally wish him a happy birthday.  He was with his wife whom he told me was 97.

“How many years have you been married?”  Of course, I was expecting it to be well over 50 years, maybe over 75.  Imagine my surprise when he replied, “5 years.”  

He went on to tell me a very sweet romantic story. He was a widower and a friend had introduced the two of them. He told me about things they have in common and how special she was.  He expressed his expectation to have the opportunity to celebrate her 100th birthday.

With a twinkle in his eye, he confided to me that this lovely lady was, in fact, his third wife. He had already outlived two wives and was thoroughly enjoying his third.  The death of a spouse frequently causes the survivor to lose interest in living and to feel there is nothing to live for. Mr. Johnson wanted to live. His desire helped him find a way, and three wives.

ATTITUDE

Does your attitude influence your life span?  Of course.  

Mr. Johnson was a man who was living with enthusiasm.  He did not tell me about his aches and pains, he told me about the love in his life.  His bright smile and sparkling blue eyes said he was having a wonderful day. Many of the people in attendance went over to chat with him.  He was a magnet of happiness. He made everyone he talked with glad to be with him. 

People with a positive attitude have more friends and fewer illnesses.  Isolation is considered a risk factor for death and disease. Your positive attitude attracts others.  

Your negative attitude repels others. None of us enjoy being with someone who complains and is never happy.  If you are unhappy and alone it may be time to examine your own attitude.  

It is not easy to be positive when you have pains and aches.  The loss of friends and loved ones can be as debilitating as health issues.  Your attitude is your choice. It does not depend on your circumstances. You decide.  

Once you recognize the desire to live long and you have adjusted your attitude to live well, it’s time for that third element.

ACTION

Oh no, I have to do something?  Desire and attitude are critical elements of, how to live to 100.  Living long and living well also depend on action.

Being overweight and barely able to walk to the kitchen don’t contribute to a positive attitude and a good life.  The actions which will help you achieve the goal of living to 100 and beyond involve diet and exercise.

We are not talking extremes here.  Your goals should revolve around eating a healthy diet of fruits and veggies.  The number on the scale is just that, a number. If you need to drop a few (or more) pounds to improve your health you do not need to go to extremes.  

Diets that are not sustainable over the long term can do more harm than good. You did not gain those pounds overnight and you will not drop them overnight.  To get and stay healthy requires changing your lifestyle and eating habits.

Making small incremental changes is the easiest and most lasting way to change habits.  This applies to exercise as well.

If you have not been running for a couple of years, deciding to run a marathon may or may not be achievable.  Instead, start walking in your neighborhood or on the indoor track at a gym several days a week.  

Develop the habit of regular exercise in bites you can chew.  A marathon is a worthy goal, just not tomorrow.

Changing bad habits into good habits takes time, patience and persistence.  You CAN* do this. You can be healthy and live long and live well.

To live to 100 requires desire, attitude, and action.