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Friday, February 1, 2013

Supercentenarians...and you

So I'm sure you've just been dying to know what my latest obsession/interest is, right?  You've probably been sitting around at your kitchen table with your head in your hands, wrenching them through your hair - occasionally pounding your fist in frustration upon your beloved eating space while desperately crying out, "What COULD she be obsessing over today?  OH!  If I only might know!  I would feel that my day would be complete!  Argh!  I am robbed of joy, robbed!  Robbed, I tell you!"

You may now heave your gigantic sigh of relief because I am about to tell you.  

Lately I have been inclined to obsess over...bum ba da BAAA!!  Supercentenarians!  

They sound like super heroes.  Well, duh, 'cuz they so are.

If you're saying, "What the heck is a supercentenarian?", you know that I shall gladly tell you.

So, a regular centenarian is a person who has achieved the feat of turning a mere 100 years old.  My great-grandma was a centenarian - she was 102.75 when she passed from this world to the next and my grandmother (her daughter) is 11 months shy of her 100th birthday.  I suppose it's how we roll around here.

A supercentenarian is someone who is greater than 110 years old.  There is this organization that records and verifies the age of such people and they keep this list and it's all Guiness booky and everything.  You have to have three sources to prove your age that are recognized by an international body.  Other people who are not verified may have less than three - like just having your birth certificate is not quite good enough for these fancy people, they've got to do it up all the way in three separate directions.

Currently, the oldest person in the world is a man from Japan.  He worked for the post office for about 45 years and then after he retired, he decided to be a farmer until he was 90.  He's 115 (116 in April) and is reported to read the paper every day with a magnifying glass.   He says his secret is eating small portions of food.

The oldest person ever on modern history's record is a woman from Arles, France.  Madame Calmet was 122 years old when she passed from this life to the next.  If you know anything about Impressionism, you know a Mr. Vincent van Gogh and that he lived in Arles in his painting years while he was trying to get people to come hang out with him in that section of France.  You will be fascinated to know that Madame Calmet was in her uncle's shop when she was about 13 when Mr. van Gogh came in to buy some paintbrushes.  She described him as, "rude, dirty and unpleasant" and she disliked him very much.  If you read his letters, you can see that many people held that opinion of him during his time (except perhaps his brother - who was also his patron).  

She celebrated her 121st birthday with a little champagne and was reported to eat about 2.2 pounds of chocolate a week. 

Once, someone said to her something along the lines of "Perhaps I'll see you next year?"  (She was about 115 at the time.)  She said, 'What's the matter with you?   You don't look sick!"

All of these people had something in common - they had an outgoing personality, many had/have a good sense of humor and they all tried new things and found enjoyment in life.  Madam Calmet took up fencing when she was EIGHTY-FIVE YEARS OLD.

What is says to me is that they were actually living their lives instead of waiting to die.  I suggest to you that you do the same.  At best, you may one day join the supercentenarian club - at worst, you will have spent your life enjoying it, others and learning about piles of things all over this blue and green planet.  

I'd say that is no loss either way.

Peace, love and get out there and enjoy it!
Ms. Daisy

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