by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
When I heard the news that Merle Barwis, Canada’s oldest person, died on November 22, 2014, at the age of 113, yes 113!, I marvelled at her longevity. Her 80’s were 30 years ago!
Merle was born on December 23, 1900 in Iowa. She is a “supercentarian” because she lived past the age of 110 years. At that age, they start counting the days after each birthday, on top of the years, so more precisely, she lived 113 years and 334 days. I bet if all of us took the time to count our days of life, we’d appreciate them more. On that note, I’ve just figured out that I’ve lived more that 16,000 days so far!
I was also struck by the fact that Merle lived in a care home in the Greater Victoria area — in Langford for goodness’ sake — and I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to meet her through my work as a mobile esthetician. I have a number of clients in their 90’s and I’m learning a lot from that generation and it would have been neat to spend time with someone in their 100’s, too.
I sometimes wonder if centarians have “reach 100 years” as a life goal like George Burns did and if they had longevity in mind throughout their life or not. I’ve been asking people if they have aspirations to reach 100 and they sort of twinkle at the idea for a second but don’t take it too seriously.
“Is it possible for me?” they might be thinking. Or maybe they’re asking themselves if they would even want to be 100 years old in the first place.
Personally, I’d like to reach my 101th birthday but only under the following conditions:
- I have my memory and mental health;
- I have physical mobility and physical health;
- I have joyful relationships with upbeat people;
- I have more than enough money for the cost of living and have a roof over my head and good food to eat;
- Our infrastructure is in tact (like roads, banks, peace treaties, etc.);
- Nature is still beautiful and the environment is still hospitable.
- I’m not bored out of my tree.
We’ll see what happens — I’m not even halfway there yet — but I certainly don’t have any plans to take myself out of the game pre-maturely. I’m just too curious to see what will happen next. In 50+ years, in the 2060’s and 2070’s, what will the fashion look like, what will the music sound like, will I still be able to read this blog post on the internet?
Does that interest you, too?
Do you have aspirations to be a centarian?
From what I gather, these will help increase your chances to live to be 100 and beyond:
- Good genes;
- Joie de vivre;
- A moderately healthy lifestyle.
I’ve also noticed that spry seniors are often lifelong dancers and avid walkers and tend to be very likeable extroverts.
Then again, life’s a crap shoot. There have been curmudgeons who have lived past 99 (but I certainly wouldn’t recommend a poor attitude as a way to go because 100 years of misery misses the point). There have also been people in history who have survived terrible advercities and still manage to live a long life. And there have been people who have been heavy smokers and drinkers who somehow manage to beat the odds and live well beyond life expectancy.
The trick is to find a balance between taking huge, unecessary risks and not playing it too safe either.
We don’t know when our number will come up but I think you can stack the deck in your favour to live a long and healthy life if you have a positive attitude and if you take care of yourself along the way. I figure, if you respect your health now, in your younger years, you’ll have any easier time later. After all, old age isn’t for sissies, wimps, or wusses and you’ve got to buckle up for the ride!
Taking care of yourself and having fun is what Homespunspa is all about and I like helping people improve the quality of their life.
Please leave a comment and let me know if you’re interested in becoming a centarian yourself and if you’d like some health and wellness coaching to get you on track. I’d be happy to chat with you about becoming an centarian because it’s one of my favourite topics and because I’d love to meet you again when we get there. No matter how long your journey is, I hope it’s a good one.
Once again, RIP, Merle Barwis, Supercentarian; you have inspired me.