What Do Centennials Say About Living Such Long Lives?
by Limus Woods
Recently, on February 24th, 2020, the world’s oldest man died. His name was Mr. Chitetsu Watanabe, he was from Japan, and he’d lived to be 112 years old.
I was like “Damn! Do I even wanna live that long??” I guess if I had a good life I would, and I’d consider it a blessing. I also thought about the fact that me living a long life might just be in my blood. When I was in high school, my great-grandfather, Mr. John Authur Pressley, died at age 97. He was always in good spirits, rode a bicycle frequently, and even drove his own car way into his old age.
I have always been fascinated by people who live to be close to or over 100 years old, which places them in a unique group among human beings called Centennials. I wanted to know if there was some kind of secret to living a very long life, so the logical thing to do was to research some of the people in our world today who actually have made it that far. I did some looking around, and it surprised me to find out that some of the things that these folks said helped keep them motivated and alive are not that hard to come by.
I started noticing consistent similarities in these several Centennials’ advices, and one of them made me very happy…many of the folks never stopped drinking. In fact, they made it sound like alcohol was a key ingredient in their longevity, judging from their smiling expressions as they mentioned it. I swear, I wanted to call everyone who’d ever told me that drinking was gonna kill me, and yell “HA! In your face, bitch! I’m gonna live longer than you!” Especially when I saw the National Geographic video on the man who was, at the time of the short documentary, the oldest living World War II Veteran, Mr. Richard Arvin Overton.
Richard was 109 years old. And, not only did he love his whiskey, but his cigars too (he said that he didn’t inhale them though…shout out to Bill Clinton). “Sometimes,” Richard began, “I’ll just sit there and smoke sometimes twelve cigars a day, maybe sometimes more than that. Anybody say ‘What you smoke ‘em for?’, I say, it just, it just makes you feel better…I drink about four cups of coffee in the morning. This morning I drank just about that much whiskey!”
Damn. I salute you, soldier. I hope I can hold my liquor like Richard if I make it to that age. He wasn’t the only one that gave props to liquor as a possible liquid in the fountain of youth. Mr. Cliff Crozier, who was from The Wirral, UK, was 101 years old when he was featured on one Life Hunters video, and he really looked only maybe 75 or 80 years old in my opinion.
“You live for the day,” he happily said, then added that “a spot of whiskey occasionally helps.” I saw one older video from the late 1980’s with a woman who was born in 1882. Her name was Ms. Mildred Holt, and at the time she was 105 years old.
When they cut to commercial break, the Carson show’s staff asked her if she would like a little water or something to drink, and she requested a High Ball. For those who may not know what a High Ball is, it was created around 1890 (when Mildred was about eight years old), is made with brown liquor, club soda or another sparkling non-alcoholic mixer, and is usually in a tall glass. She and Johnny Carson had coffee mugs on the show. And, when he asked her for a sip of her mug, the drink made him start popping his lips. She said she didn’t like wine or beer, and that she mostly had a strong drink like that at dinner parties and such.
Diet was a main trend in a lot of these Centennials’ comments, especially one made by Ms. Amelia Tereza Harper, who was 103 years old in her video (the same one that featured Cliff, above). “I’m very, very strong,” she said. “I never realized how strong I am. It’s all the food that my mother cooked, and first of all we grew in the garden. We always, always had fresh food when we were youngsters, always, straight from the garden, into the pan, and onto the plates.”
Surprisingly, having a sweet tooth was also seemingly something that kept these older folks happy. The Japanese man from earlier who just recently passed at 112 years old, Chitetsu Watanabe, mentions how he loved custard pudding and ice cream, and so did Richard Overton, who said ice cream made him especially joyful, especially Butter Pecan.
I always figured that simply keeping yourself mentally happy would be a key to living a long life, and these folks confirmed it. Ms. Kana Tanaka was named once by Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest living person at 117 (damn that’s fucking old!), and said that “family, sleep, and hope are the secrets to a long life.” Mr. Overton said in his video, “I may give out, but I never give up…”, and Ms. Harper even said that spending money gave her a thrill. “I like going out shopping,” she said. “Once I go out shopping, I don’t want to come back!”
Sorry fellas, but it’s confirmed. If you want your lady to live a long life, you gotta let her drain your credit card every now and then at the mall. But, that just means that you get to sit home with whiskey and ice cream and smoke cigars in the house while she is gone. But, the good thing is you both will be increasing your chances of spending many more years together on this Earth, just by maintaining your internal and external happiness, which seems to me to be the secret to living a long life.