Secret to Longevity

I came across this article this morning in The Desert Morning News and was absolutely touched.

Lorna Alder, the subject of the article, is 103 years old, an age that is very rare, especially for Americans (thanks largely to our rich diets and sedentary lifestyles which prematurely cut our lives short). I think that fact alone should spark the interest of any reader. I would really love to sit down with this lady and have a chat. I’m always fascinated by people’s stories, no doubt she’d have at least a dozen fascinating ones to tell. At her age, she still takes care of herself, finds time to do humanitarian work, and does many things that people half her age are not able to do.

The secret of her longevity? She has taken care of herself over the years (this is just a guess, but she was probably never obese or sedentary) and has kept herself active. Her real secret though, in my opinion, is the fact that she is self-reliant, has a purpose, and constantly finds ways to be in the service of others. A good lesson for us all.

I know the importance of a good diet (Lorna wouldn’t be here if she was 100 pounds overweight!). But it’s not the only factor to living a quality, healthful life. Service, having a purpose, and keeping active, all of which go hand-in-hand, are critical to living vibrantly.

I have heard people say, “I’d rather live 10 years less and enjoy my life, than live longer and not enjoy it,” as if taking care of yourself (through dietary and self-care excellence) somehow equals a prudish Spartan lifestyle void of joy or pleasure. And certainly it’s not just about quantity, or simply extending the years of ones life, but quality as well. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be strapped to an oxygen tank, wheelchair, or be a slave to 20 different medications just to keep my alive for the last 20-30 years of my life. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, quantity or quality. You CAN have both if you are willing to commit yourself to the PRINCIPLES (notice how I didn’t say fad diet) of truly healthy living.

So thanks Lorna, for inspiring us all to get moving and do something good today. Because, if we follow in your footsteps, perhaps we’ll have 50, 60, or 70+ more years of purposeful living.


  1. Howard Veit
    on June 23, 2009 at 9:07 pm said:

    You might enjoy Blue Zones by Dan Buettner ( four cultures who have higher average lifespans. There are lots of valuable lessons in this book including, but beyond, nutrition.