Tuesday, when I came home, and stopped to pick up my mail, someone had placed a poster on the community bulletin board advertising a birthday party for our neighborhood’s oldest resident – on September 12th he will have reached the Century mark. Then, later as I browsed MSN, I caught another story – one about Bess Cooper, a woman in Georgia who on Sunday celebrated her 116th birthday. She actually made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. I must say, that is some achievement. I haven’t had a chance to talk to our local hero to get his advice on a long and healthy life. However, I must say, he is constantly on the move.
Our celebrity walks the neighborhood with a trolley, picking up whatever interesting trinkets he can find on trash day. What’s that old adage? “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Well, he has at least fifteen vacuum cleaners, ten stereo systems and God only knows what else; mind you we were here seven years in May (It’s a new development – we all moved in only months from each other). Now, I named these specific things, because I have discarded such items from my garage/house and they disappeared before being picked up by the garbage men. I know that he takes the vacuums in, repairs them, and then, I don’t know what happens from there. In fact the other day, my husband sat out two worn and weary patio chairs that were also missing the cushions. Now, so are the chairs. But, if this is what keeps him going, then, so be it. At 93 when he moved here, of course he didn’t drive, therefore he used and continues to use his garage as a workshop, and every – E V E R Y morning when I leave for work there he is tinkering with something: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall. I would have to say then, keeping yourself busy must prove a big part of a long and healthy life.
As I browsed further along MSN, just a few inches below the story of Bess Cooper, sat a poll entitled, “How Old Do You Think You’ll Live To Be?” The ages listed were:
69 years old or less
70 – 79
80 – 89
90 – 99
100 years old or more
Do I want to speak or think of a number in my head? Wouldn’t that be the same as setting the clock or claiming that figure? My mother used to say, when you speak it you claim it. Anyway, Bess Cooper says the secret to her longevity has been the fact that she minds her own business – I have to say that one should be really high on the list, and she does not eat junk food. Look at her skin, you can definitely tell she doesn’t, even at 116; eat junk food that is. In reading this story, I’m reminded of the Raymond James Financial commercial where their character is happy she invested with them, because she has kept on living to the ripe old age of 187. Of course, would anyone really want to live that long? Well, maybe; if you’re like that person. She’s sky diving, entering Ping Pong tournaments, and living the same as she did at 50. But, again that’s all make-believe.
If my grandmother were still alive she would be 102 and my grandfather 106. In biblical days people lived many years – Methuselah lived until the age of 969. Then, somewhere along the way everything changed. Honestly, I’ve never really given a lot of thought to this topic. At least, not until now. But, then, when you’re living – really living – you don’t have time to think of – how long. So, let’s just live life, and enjoy the gift of each day. I think the Italian version of – live your life is so beautiful and poetic, I’ll leave you with that – Vivi la tua vita.
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