What Makes Grandpa So Happy?

In a study by Dr. Lynn Adler (Forbes: 2013) reporting the Life Secrets of Centurions, over 500 people older than 100 were studied. Can you guess their answer to these two questions?

A. What was your favorite age?
B. What are you doing today to increase your lifespan?

Here are 16 reasons Grandpa is happy:

1. He has the freedom to choose. No more kids to raise, no boss to listen to, no elders to worry about, and he is still healthy enough to travel, play golf, and drive a car. The power of being able to choose what he wants to do – to have freedom to read, nap, swing a racket or golf club, and travel – no wonder grandpa is happy!
2. He thinks like a volunteer not a slave. We seem to answer to The Man, The Boss, The Slave-Driver. Grandpa is happy because he is comfortable in his own skin, even if it doesn’t fit as well anymore. He knows his strengths and weaknesses, as well as the weaknesses of others. He can shrug a shoulder, tip a hat, smile, and walk away. It is easier than we think possible, and more powerful to our sense of self than constantly feeling managed.
3. He lives with a deep sense of gratitude. He is grateful for sunrises, peaches, and cold beer. Truly grateful. Even grateful for past painful experiences, the ones that have provided more wisdom.
4. He doesn’t need a cellphone or constant access to technology. Email or Text? – why don’t we just call them? Insta-what? Facebooky? Perhaps Grandpa is happy because ignorance is bliss, or maybe he is happy like a fox who has outsmarted us all.
5. He doesn’t swear. Swearing makes us more hostile and easily angered; not grandpa.
6. Grandpa has time to think. Grandpa acts more in his own time, and less by someone else’s orders or timetable. My dad used to say about decisions – Let’s just mess around awhile. It turned out to be sage advice. The faster I make decisions, the more I find myself apologizing.
7. He’s unencumbered. The more things we have, the more we worry. “I have to go to my house in Florida or Palm Springs. I have to go boating to make all these fees I’m paying worthwhile. We better take that trip – cause our friends liked the same trip.” Grandpa has purposely surrounded himself with less assets and therefore has less liabilities!
8. He’s got a happy place. Whether it is the porch swing, a comfortable chair, his favorite beer, a specific flower, or a particular hangout, dog park, or cigar by sunset, he has the things that make him smile. Do we have a happy place? – Grandpa does.
9. He sleeps a lot – and is refreshed and always has time for the kids. Hmmm?
10. He easily says “no.” Not now, maybe later, I got things to do. Grandpa’s priorities: read the paper, pull the weeds, listen to a CD, and wash his own car. Are those things really important? Maybe not, but it’s called living a life, and it’s less about simply making a living.
11. He values a handful of close friends, and spends less time having many acquaintances.
12. He wears 10% of his wardrobe 90% of the time. “Grandpa those pants are dirty.” He has that favorite shirt that Grandma can’t stand.
13. He talks about the assassination of President Kennedy like he was there. (He kinda was)
14. He seems to not own a comb or a belt.
15. He has new medical philosophies: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” when he was young is now “a donut/beer a day keeps the doctor away”
16. He watches sports on TV, although he claims not to like it.

So back to the two questions we asked at the start. The answers to A and B are:
1. His favorite Age – 73. Why? For the rationale, see answer #1 above.
2. What did all 500 centurions have in common for a long life? Even at their advanced age of 100+, when they woke up in the morning they had someplace they had to be that day. Whether it was volunteer work, answering a phone, manning a toll booth, handing out towels, whatever, they had value and an ability to contribute.

That seems to be the key to a long life.

Grandpa may be happy. Grandma may be happier still.

Jus Sayin’

Jim

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