The adage “wisdom comes with age” is pretty accurate. The things you learn throughout your life-experience teach you how to find true happiness, and show you what really matters.
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There are some people in this world who have managed to exceed the general life expectancy age of 78 (US 2015) and lived past 100 years.
So what does one learn about life after spending over a century on this planet? What pieces of wisdom can they bestow upon us that can change our perceptions and values? I’ve gathered some bits advice from some folks who were 100 or older at the time, to share with all of you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
A thread on Reddit was created by a young man who wanted people to ask his 101-year-old grandmother questions about life. These are some of her responses:
What is one piece of advice you wish to pass down on someone in their 20’s?
“Don’t ever give up. You are young and there will be hard times ahead. Don’t give up. Don’t ever.”
What is the greatest lesson that you have learned?
“Be honest. I’ve rarely lied. And when you are honest with people it comes back to you and they are honest with you. Its to much work keeping up with a lie, you don’t need the extra stress.”
Any advice on making it past 100?
“Always listen to the other person. You’ll learn something. Try to sit back, because you will learn a lot more listening to others than telling them what you know.”
What is one experience you would recommend to absolutely everyone that they must do once in their lifetime?
“See as much of the world as you can!”
Any secrets you can share, health wise, that you think may have helped you achieve living such a long life (diet, exercise, genetics, etc.)?
“Take naps every day.”
Author Bel Kaufman was 100 when she spoke at Iona College. What are the ingredients for a happy life? Humor and passion.
“[Humor is] a life force, a way of surviving the difficulties of living.”
“I think [people] have to be curious. They have to be interested in life outside their little aches and pains. They have to be excited about seeing new things, meeting new people, watching a new play—just passionate about life.”
“I don’t care what you’re passionate about: maybe saving Dixie cup covers. But if you do it passionately, you’re alive.”
104 year old Dr Shigeaki Hinohara is the author of Living Long, Living Good, and shared these brilliant pieces of advice on life.
“Don’t be crazy about amassing material things. Remember: You don’t know when your number is up, and you can’t take it with you to the next place.”
“Pain is mysterious, and having fun is the best way to forget it.”
“My inspiration is Robert Browning’s poem ‘Abt Vogler.’ My father used to read it to me. It encourages us to make big art, not small scribbles. It says to try to draw a circle so huge that there is no way we can finish it while we are alive. All we see is an arch; the rest is beyond our vision but it is there in the distance.”
Elsa Bailey celebrated her 100th birthday by skiing in Colorado. She told ABC News a couple things she has learned to keep her going.
“If you’re positive you can get through it OK. When you think negatively, you’re putting poison on your body. Just smile. They say laughter is the best medicine there is.”
Read: In Memory of Dr. Wayne Dyer – 21 of his Greatest Inspirational Quotes
“Be active. I do things my way, like skiing when I’m 100. Nobody else does that even if they have energy. And I try to eat pretty correctly, and get exercise and fresh air and sunshine.”
This centenarian shared the following on what she has learned in the past 100 years of her life.
“Travel while you’re young and able. Don’t worry about the money, just make it work. Experience is far more valuable than money will ever be.”
“The only thing constant is change, so you have to learn to embrace it.”
“You will one day realize you spent too much time worrying about nothing.”
“I’m not saying you have to practice one religion or another, or not practice one religion or another… I’m just saying that you should figure out what you believe in and live it completely.”
“Don’t take life so seriously.”
With the majority of us measuring our lives in deadlines and due-dates, a few helpful words of wisdom from those who have been around longer may change how we spend our days. Remember the basics- it’s not rocket science. Laugh, love, relax… it’s only temporary.