The Secret to Living Longer

Last weekend I delivered my “Five Prescriptions for Happiness” talk at the annual Reunion Weekend for the Baldwin Wallace College chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta.  Most of the attendees were current students or recent graduates; there were also a few tables of alumnae with babies in strollers; and a smattering of alums my age.
The Sunday afternoon event capped a day that had started with a fund-raising walk for a local charity and included a festive lunch and celebration, so the mood in the room was quite high.  The women readily engaged in the discussion and the short activities that are part of the talk.
Near the end of my talk, I have the entire audience on their feet for an activity that demonstrates the Mind-Body connection, and this group loved it.  Since I was the closing event for the weekend, the group was adjourned a few mins after my talk ended, and I was surrounded for a few minutes by smiling young women who came over to thank me for delivering such an upbeat message.
Behind the crowd I noticed an older woman waiting patiently for her turn to speak with me.  Eventually the hubbub subsided and she came forward.
“Young man,” she started (I was immediately in love with her – at age 53 I don’t get called ‘young man’ very often anymore!).  “Young man, I agree with everything you say, and I think you’re the best speaker we’ve ever had at this event.”
“Thank you,” I replied politely.  And then a question: “and how many of these have you attended?”  Every single one, it turns out.  Which is a lot.  She and I fell into a longer conversation.
Margaret is 95 years old, and was a 1934 graduate of Baldwin Wallace College.  She is apparently a cultural icon in the BW Alpha Gamma Delta community.  She maintains an active involvement in the chapter; each fall she hosts a barbeque dinner at her house for the chapter and their new initiates…and has been doing so for a LONG time.
She comes across as bright, energetic, and much younger than her chronology would indicate.  I remarked on that.  Her response: “Do you want to know the secret to living a long and happy life?”  “Absolutely!” I declared.
“The secret to living longer is to have friends who are younger.  And now that I’m 95, I have no choice” she said with a wink and a smile.
She’s 95 and stays young by hanging out with 20 year olds – and by keeping her sense of humour sharp.  How cool is that?!

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