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Centenarians Give Advice on How to Live to 100 and Not Regret a Thing

Centenarians are people who have reached the age of 100. There are around 450,000 of them in the world. They definitely have something to share with us and we should probably listen carefully – after all, it's not every day you get to meet a person who has lived a full century!

Today Bright Side wants to share 10+ life stories and highlight their messages for us that will help us pay attention to the most important things in life. Read through to the end—there is a bonus there for you!

1. Fauja Singh

Fauja Singh was born in 1911. He could hardly walk until he was five years old. His legs were thin and weak. And now he is one of the oldest marathon runners. He holds a lot of records in short and long distances in his age group.

  • Happiness comes when you are healthy. I run for my happiness.
  • Everybody who can run, should surely go and bring grace and make themselves healthy.

2. Ida Keeling

Ida Keeling was born in 1915 and she is an American athlete. She lost her mother when she was young and her husband at 42. She had 4 children, 2 of whom were killed. Now she holds records in the 60 m and 100 m distances for women in the 95-99 and 100+ age groups.

  • If you give up on yourself, shame on you!
  • Don't abuse yourself. You are supposed to love your body, take care of it, and do the best for it.
  • Stand on your own feet, think for yourself.
  • Don't think old, think back to what you did when you were young. If you can do some of what you did when you were young, you're fine.

3. Richard Overton

Richard Overton was born in 1906. He is the oldest living World War II veteran in the US. He was married twice but has no children.

  • You don't feed a cat too much because then it won't eat a rat.
  • If it is your time to go, that bullet gonna get you, if it ain't your time to go, that bullet is going over your head. It ain't gonna hit you.
  • Good to have a spiritual life, but you have got to live it. It makes you feel better.
  • If you give up, you're through! You are just doubting yourself.

4. Amelia Tereza Harper

Amelia Harper lived in Czechoslovakia with her grandparents when she was a young girl, because her father was a prisoner of war. They moved to London after her father was released. She was happily married from the age of 16 until her husband died when he was in his 70s. She lost both of her first children—twins—and says that it was the most tragic moment of her life. But time has healed this wound. She also had a daughter that she loved.

  • Everything makes me happy. I love talking to people. I like doing things. I like going out shopping.
  • Make the most of love. Especially if it's the first love—there is nothing like it.
  • I recommend to anybody, if they find the right husband to marry, do not just live together, marry. Be closer and closer. It seems to me that if you are happy, happily married and happily living—that is the finest remedy for all illnesses. Because everything is in a perfect harmony.
  • A good idea is to behave well with other people, show them respect... And help them as much as you possibly can, it will be repaid hundredfold.

5. Joan Willet

Like Amelia, Joan Willet, born in 1916, spent most of her childhood with her grandmother. Her father was fighting in France, so she didn’t see him until she was two. Her mother had a job at a grocer’s shop and was always busy. Joan worked as a teacher and never had a husband or children.

  • I think taking an interest in everything that’s going on is most important.
  • You shouldn’t just sit down and let the world go by. I think you should keep working, keep moving, keep doing things.
  • You’ve been given a brain—use it.

6. Cliff Crozier

Cliff Crozier was born in 1915. He fought in WWII, and has been retired for 40 years. He always remembers how he was ill in college and his father made a long journey to take him back home. But Cliff refused, because he wanted to stay with his friends. He says: “I didn't do the right thing by my father, that's the thing.”

He shares his life lessons with us so we can avoid the regrets he has now:

  • Communicate, speak with your parents. And take their advice, too. Or at least consider it, you don’t always have to follow it. But certainly don’t throw it out of the window.
  • My wife and I did have problems, but we got through them. And I think, nowadays people give up too easily.
  • Time spent on reconnaissance is seldom wasted. And be as independent as you can. But don't be reluctant to ask for help when you think you need it.

7. John Denerley

John Denerley was born in 1914 in Denton, Manchester. He said that his life was relatively easy, even though he served in the Royal Air Force for 5 years. He enjoyed jazz music when he was young and could stay up until the morning listening to it. He became a pharmacist, and he only regretted that he did not start to study earlier.

  • I think the sooner you start studying, the better.
  • If I'd had been more attentive at school in my early life, I'd have studied more and harder.
  • Keep right on to the end of the road.

8. Andy Anderson

Andy Anderson did not go to college; all his knowledge was gained through life experience. He joined the Army Air Corps in WWII, and then served at the flight school in Texas where he stayed until the war ended. He met his wife on one Saturday and married her on the following Saturday. They lived together for 67 years, raised 2 children and adopted a son.

Here's what he has learned over his 100 years:

  • Never be too good to start at the bottom.

  • Your family is the most precious thing you will ever have in life.

  • Make sure you're doing what you love; don't be afraid to follow those dreams you have for yourself.

  • Life is a gift that you must unwrap. It's up to you to determine if what's inside will lead you to happiness or dismay. You have the power to make that decision for yourself.

9. Rose Lamprey

Rose Lamprey's life was filled with tenderness and love as well. She was born in 1914, and has also outlived her husband. They lived together for 70 years. She was a nurse and had two daughters.

  • What’s the key to a long, happy marriage? Love. Love will overcome everything.
  • What is the biggest mistake people make in their lives? They’re not satisfied with what they’ve got.
  • Be interested in everything, in what’s going on. Don’t sit back and vegetate.

10. Joyce Fisher

Joyce Fisher was born in 1916. She worked as a clerk during World War II. She had a husband, but did not have children: "We made up our minds that we wouldn’t have children until we got married, and it was a bit late then." Her advice for younger people:

  • Do not worry about things, although you’re only human, you can’t help it.
  • We’re only here for a short time. We’re given our own will to live as we want and it’s up to us to live properly.
  • I wish I had asked my mother more about her father. I never asked about past family. When you’re young, you’re not interested. It’s when you get old like me you wish you had asked.
  • Keep touch with friends.
  • Travel!

11. David Rockefeller

David Rockefeller was born in 1915. He is known worldwide as an American banker and former CEO of Chase Manhattan Corporation. By March 2017 his fortune was estimated at $3.3 billion. He was married and had 6 children. Here's what he had to say:

  • Relationships matter most.
  • Appreciate ordinary pleasures — and don’t worry about hyperbole.
  • Respect people, not positions.
  • Care for yourself, and kindness follows naturally.
  • Generosity begets joy.
  • Just let go.

Bonus: other 100-year-olds have their own secrets to a long life

Some say it's having a best friend for the most time of your life...

Jane and Lil have been best friends for over 70 years.

Some say the secret is in drinking wine.

Florence Bearse has recently celebrated her 100 birthday. Her secret of longevity is wine. She says, "I like my wine. Don't take it away from me.”

For others, it's smoking that helped spare nerves and live a long life.

Winnie Langley was 102 years old when she died. It seems that she had quite a long life. But the most surprising thing here is that she had been a smoker almost all her life, and wasn't worried about it a tiny bit.

There is no exact answer on how to ensure a long life. For example, Aida Hedson, who was born in 1910 in Mexico, said the opposite thing, "I have lived for so long because I looked after my health and I never smoked."

We hope that the wisdom of these people will help make your life bright and colorful.

How often do your grandparents share their thoughts on life with you? Are they valuable? Tell us in the comment section below!