Longevity 081621

A Lesson in Longevity: Aunt Flo Turns 100!

A major and happy milestone this summer was the 100th birthday of our beloved Aunt Flo. I have included her as a subject in my books because she is an inspiration to all of us who want to live long, healthy and fulfilled lives. I love her and admire her tenacity, and only partially because she cajoled me into including her in my books, newsletters and blogs. As a centenarian with years of wisdom behind her, why wouldn’t I be all in on including her?

Three months before her special day, I had been to her home in Los Angeles. I had several hours alone with her to ask questions and better understand what led to her long life. I know deep in my heart she practiced many of the things I recommend in the Power of 5 Formula. In addition, I feel confident that she has practiced a life with GRACE.

Aunt Flo’s Secret for Longevity

After my aunt offered me peanut butter on toast three times, I accepted. As I ate, she revealed her beliefs regarding her secret to her long life.  She used a Hebrew/Yiddish word: MAZEL. The technical interpretation of the word is luck. It totally deflated me.

Here I was with a 100-year-old woman, and the best reason she could come up with for her longevity was luck? We had a long debate about her revelation (I did not accept it as being the real reason). No sense arguing with a one-hundred-year-old woman, I have learned. I would never win; she is older than me and is a woman.

GRACE, Luck and Genetics

My observation is that she epitomized the acronym GRACE. She raised a family and has grandchildren and great grandchildren woven into her life. And there’s no sense in talking about her good genes. She has lived to be one hundred, and her family roots run deep.

Her attitude was realistic. She has outlived many of her very dear friends. She has survived a fractured pelvis and cancer. And she tells me she does not have that much to be optimistic about. She must also have a strong will to live as she recovered from a bout of COVID two months prior to my visit. 

When it comes to companionship, she has set the standard. She had friends galore, so much so that, even though I lived on the opposite coast, I had met many of them. With regard to environment, I will overlook the fact that she has not exercised, meditated, or had a healthy diet for much of her life.

We also discussed many other subjects, mainly pertaining to one family member or another. She is the final historian of her generation in our family. She remains sharp, opinionated and does not have any of the inhibitions a younger person may have. It was quite refreshing (despite her opinions about my parents!).

For lots of reasons, COVID among them, I could not be with her for her special birthday, but my siblings and many cousins were. They provided me with commentary and a few pictures, which I have included in this newsletter. I wish my aunt a happy birthday, and, as we say, lots of mazel.