Wisdom in growing old

Published 7:00 am Friday, January 23, 2015

While it’s been well over a decade since we welcomed the new millennium, there are a few people alive who welcomed the dawn of the 20th century.
USA Today reported that five women, who were born in the late 19th century, are still alive today to tell their stories.
Three of the women are from the United States, while the other two are from Japan and Italy.
I can’t begin to imagine the amount of historical events those women have seen with their own eyes. They could probably tell countless stories about the World Wars, the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War, the Great Depression, the Apollo 11 moon landing—the list goes on.
The oldest living person in the world is Misao Okawa from Japan. She was born in 1898, and celebrated her 116th birthday last March.
While it must be a blessing to live as long as Okawa and the rest of these women, it must also be a curse. Having lived so many years, it’s certain that they outlived many of their loved ones and were forced to say many goodbyes.
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control said the current life expectancy is 78 years and nine months.
The report also said that women have a higher life expectancy than men, living almost five years longer, which explains why the oldest people in the world are women. But it doesn’t explain how these women have been able to live so long in a time when many of the advances of modern medicine didn’t exist and the life expectancy was low. So what’s their secret?
It could be the luck of the draw or it could be the fact that they took care of themselves.
After all, Okawa comes from Japan, a place where many people live past 100, according to USA Today. Okawa shared her secrets for longevity, which included getting regular sleep, exercising, eating sushi and good genes.
Okawa’s secrets aren’t really secrets. Over the years, doctors have reiterated the importance of exercise and sleep for a long and healthy life. Maybe it’s time most of us listened so that we too could have a chance to see the dawn of the next millennium.

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