What’s the key to longevity?
Almost certainly, there is no single one — though faith seems to rank very high in many cases.
There was Richard Arvin Overton, an Austin man who died at 112 in 2019 — taking care of himself and driving a car at least until he was 109 (the oldest World War Two vet). He smoked twelve cigars a day (albeit no inhaling), drank milk, and ate ice cream (butter pecan) every day, “because it makes me happy.” He also was known to like Maker’s Mark whisky in that coffee.
Is this as much a key as anything, keeping active, keeping engaged, keeping happy?
Overton was a man of faith. He possessed a small library of well-worn Bibles and loved attending church (opening the doors for others and singing).
“It makes me feel good,” he said of attending.
It was, he said, with delight, “beautiful to hear the singing.”
It brings us to the oldest verifiably dated person still with us — at 116, a nun. Name is Sister André, birth name Lucile Randon, of France. “Born on Feb. 11, 1904, Sister André has survived two world wars and even a COVID-19 infection,” says Fox 13. “In her younger years, she worked as a teacher and a governess. She later spent nearly three decades working with orphans and elderly people at a hospital in central France before becoming a Catholic nun.”
Serving others, she too does what brings happiness, mainly praying, giving advice, partaking of a little chocolate, and (did you guess it?) a daily glass of wine. Of course, attending Mass and reciting a daily Rosary don’t hurt. (Note well that birth date of hers: the Lourdes feast day.)
Joy and happiness, which come from God, certainly have their place. Does hot sauce make you happy? It may at least have some health benefits — the latest so-called superfood. Researchers at Marshall University say capsaicin — the substance which gives chili peppers their hot and spicy taste — can also keep multiple forms of cancer from growing, notes Study Says. (Are these the “worst foods” for your body?)
Of course, a long life can be 27. It is what God gives us. Jesus was 33. Thèrèse the Little Flower just 24. It is what we make of every moment. In September 2019, the mayor of Fukuoka, Japan, made a pilgrimage to see Kane Tanaka at her nursing home. She was 116 years old then and ended up 119 before her death earlier this year. She liked chocolate also and “fizzy drinks” (Coca-Cola).
Don’t get us wrong: none of the above negates the importance of the right food (dark green vegetables, sweet potatoes, plenty of water, and cutting down on sugar) to go along with perhaps that dash of alcohol, which isn’t always a good health idea. Some folks simply have good genes!
But joy in life, though a constant struggle to attain, is critical and tied into faith, which brings happiness even in suffering and unto passage to ageless eternity.
[resources: The God of Healing]