How to celebrate your 100th birthday

Miss Emma Sutton on her 100th birthday, Sun-Herald 17 February 1940, via State Library Victoria

A few days ago, Mary Beard asked; “How do you celebrate your 100th birthday?”

Like her, I don’t have a fond hope for reaching 100 years, though in my case it’s because my treatment options are likely to be few when my transplant fails (though hopefully, that’s a while away yet).

But would you even reach your 100th birthday?

Your 100th Birthday

The most common scenario we see is on slow news days when a commercial TV station sends a cadet journalist to a residential care facility to film an elderly person spoon-fed a factory made sponge cake. 

I usually wonder if they’d prefer to go home with their family for the day (though I know the logistics can be fiendishly difficult). A couple of beers and a barbie at one of the kid’s houses seems a better choice to me. 

Mind you, nursing homes have come a long way since my poor mother was forced into one. But even so, many of us would prefer not to live in, let alone die in one.

Thankfully, you have more choice now, though I can’t help feeling that many future seniors will be alone because their children will have already died of some kind of lifestyle disease.

But how do you live a long life, one that’s worth living, and doesn’t rely on other people to take care of you. Here’s some things to think about.

Your Physical Health

If you want to live and enjoy a long life, you have to commit to caring for your body, in its capacity as the carrier of your soul. The same advice applies in respect of almost every lifestyle disease.

  • Eat fresh, unprocessed food.
  • Do some strength, flexibility, and balance exercises.
  • Go for  a walk for at least half an hour a day.
  • Sleep at least eight hours a night.
  • Breathe deeply, preferably fresh forest air.

Your Mental Health

Similarly, a happy life relies on the ability to enjoy it, and that means taking care of your mental health.

  • Develop a personal vision, mission and values.
  • Grow your ability to deal with stress through meditation (and sleep).
  • Deal with mental clutter.
  • Challenge your mental capacities by learning new things.
  • Listen to what your body is trying to tell you.

Your Financial Health

There’s not much point surviving to your 100th birthday if you can’t afford to buy the things you enjoy as well as those you need.

Your Relationships

For some reason, many people pair the word lonely with the word old; “old and lonely” they say. If you don’t want to be old and lonely, you need to work on your relationships:

Your Life

Above all, remember that it’s your life – do the things that make it worth living. In general, pursue happiness and avoid unhappiness, but remember that bittersweet is the best of both worlds.

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