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How to Live to 100 While Remaining Healthy, Happy and Fulfilled

Posted by Tim Roberts on Apr 12, 2024 6:03:45 PM

Happy old couple piggy backing know how to live to 100

Don’t fight the day, just let it be. Get up and be positive. — Gussie Levine

Do things that you’ve never done before. —Lillian Modell

You must keep active, or you will just wither away. Always be involved in some activity. — Miriam Henson

You have to be lucky, but I made the best of things when bad things happened. — Morris Lensky

If it can be fixed, fix it! — Anne Lomedico

Sleep well and have a Bailey’s Irish Cream before bed if you have a cold. — Helen Mulligan

It is very important to have a widespread curiosity about life. — Irving Kahn

Think positively, enjoy your children, enjoy your life. — Anne Lamont


All of the quotes above are pieces of good advice, but they also have something else in common ... everyone on that list is over 100 years old! There is a lot to be learned from people who live long into their golden years, particularly those who have done so while maintaining healthy, happy lives. While it's tempting to think that it's a matter of longevity genes to reach that point, more and more studies show that when it comes to achieving a long life, the choices you make along the way make a huge difference.

The anti-aging industry is booming! Yet, much of what's behind healthy longevity surprises people (hint, you don't need longevity drugs), so let's explore how to live to 100 in an optimal state of health. 



Silhouette of a father who finds purpose and life fulfillment resting his head against his newborn baby

For over 80 years, Vincent Dransfield, aged 109, dedicated himself to serving as a member of the local volunteer fire department. When questioned about the source of his happiness and motivation in life, his response is swift: "The fire department... I've made countless friends along the way."

After running her travel agency for 35 years, Mildred Kirschenbaum's passion for exploring the world remains undiminished. The Boca Raton, Florida, resident spent her 100th birthday celebrating with a transatlantic cruise. On the home front, she maintains independence, confidently driving her car, staying active at the gym, and even managing stock and options trading from her computer!

Such individuals often attribute their longevity and happiness to a deep satisfaction and contentment derived from living in alignment with their values, passions, and aspirations. A positive outlook fueled by continued engagement with activities that bring them fulfillment, whether that may be spending time with loved ones, pursuing hobbies, or contributing to their community, underscores their contentment with life and themselves as well as a sense of purpose, meaning, and joy.

A big part of centenarians' happiness derives from their vitality, physical health, and mental clarity. It's as if age is just a number to them. So what are their daily habits that have contributed to their happiness, and what life lessons can we learn from their example? 


Natural Movement

Healthy smiling elderly lady swimming off a tropical island paradise

One of the surprising factors that Dan Buettner discovered in his studies of the areas known as Blue Zones where the highest concentration of centenarians lived, was that most residents don't engage in a structured exercise routine, instead getting their exercise from staying active throughout the day in a natural way. The blue zones secrets could involve farming, dancing, gardening, or simply walking. This doesn't mean you should run out and cancel your gym membership, because that is still great for your body, but there are several ways you can start practicing moving naturally to stay healthy:

  1. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  2. Walk or bike for short trips instead of driving.
  3. Stand up and stretch regularly, especially if sitting for long periods.
  4. Incorporate daily walks into your routine, such as during breaks at work or after meals.
  5. Engage in outdoor activities like gardening, hiking, or playing sports.
  6. Dance around while doing household chores or cooking.
  7. Opt for active leisure activities like swimming, yoga, or tai chi.
  8. Park farther away from your destination to encourage walking.
  9. Use a standing desk or adjustable workstation to alternate between sitting and standing.
  10. Explore nature by going for hikes or nature walks in local parks or nature reserves.

Moving naturally regularly is good to support a physically healthy lifestyle and proven to slow down brain aging for up to four years, as well as providing heart health benefits.


Keep Your Mind Engaged

Two elderly men keeping their minds active playing chess at a park bench

Another interesting factor is the importance of keeping our minds active in order to achieve a long, happy, and healthy life. Numerous centenarians, defying conventional retirement norms, have chosen to continue working well into their 90s, offering a compelling testament to the power of mental engagement. According to a study performed by the University of Melbourne, individuals aged 40 and above who worked 25 hours or fewer per week experienced enhanced cognitive function.

If continuing to work into your golden years doesn't tickle your fancy, here are several other ways to keep yourself mentally active for longevity wellness:

  1. Lifelong Learning: Enroll in classes or workshops to learn new skills, languages, or hobbies.
  2. Reading: Read books, newspapers, or magazines to stimulate the mind and stay informed.
  3. Puzzles and Games: Solve crossword puzzles, Sudoku, or play strategic board games to challenge cognitive abilities.
  4. Socializing: Stay connected and talk to friends, family, and community members through various social channels such as clubs and volunteering.
  5. Creative Expression: Explore artistic activities such as painting, drawing, writing, or music to express creativity and stimulate the brain.
  6. Physical Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity, as it can improve blood flow to the brain and enhance cognitive function.
  7. Brain Training Apps: Use brain-training apps or online programs designed to improve memory, attention, and problem-solving skills.
  8. Meditation and Mindfulness: Practice meditation or mindfulness techniques to reduce stress, improve focus, and enhance overall well-being.
  9. Travel and Exploration: Explore new places, cultures, and experiences to broaden your horizons and keep your mind active
  10. Volunteering: Engage in meaningful volunteer work to maintain mental stimulation and a sense of purpose.


A Homegrown Healthy Diet

Old man crouching down tending to his vegetable garden, a sure way on how to live to 100

While feeding your brain with mental stimulation is important, nurturing the body with the right food directly affects your mood and overall health. We've all heard the cliche you are what you eat. Well, when it comes to how to live to 100 while staying vibrant and happy, it's certainly true! Many supercentenarians (those who live to 110 and beyond) claim to eat a diet largely free from preservatives and limit saturated fats. Many grow their own fruit and vegetables which they use for their home-cooked meals with moderate calorie input.

Take Texan Elizabeth Francis, who at the time of writing is 115 and the second oldest person in the US. Elizabeth has lived through World War I, World War II, the Spanish flu, and the COVID pandemic. She recalls always having a vegetable garden growing okra, carrots and collard greens. Her granddaughter can never recall being taken to a fast food restaurant, instead always enjoying Nan's home-cooked meals including ingredients straight from the backyard.


Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

A diverse bunch of elderly people laughing and smiling their way to living to 100

In a case study carried out by The Guardian, it was not surprising to see how many centenarians interviewed reported a good sense of humor as one of their tips for a long life. You might notice centenarians often have prominent lines around their eyes– evidence they've smiled and laughed a lot! Not only does humor uplift the spirit and brighten even the darkest of days, but laughter also boasts a myriad of physiological benefits, being known to:

  • Reduce stress hormones
  • Promote relaxation
  • Boost the immune system
  • Contribute to overall well-being

Laughter also fosters social connections as it strengthens bonds with others and enhances one's sense of belonging and community—a vital aspect of longevity.


Stay Connected With Family and Community

A close group of geriatrics walking together and smiling their way towards 100 years old

Many centenarians credit their longevity to the relationships they have cultivated over the years with their families and “extended families” of loved ones. Mattie Clune (102 at the time of interview by the Washington Post), advises to "live your life kindly." She raised eight children, was an amazing caregiver to 17 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren, and volunteered in her community, all while working as a teacher.

As individuals age, they may experience profound changes in their social networks, such as the loss of friends or family members, retirement, or physical limitations, which can contribute to feelings of isolation and disconnection. By contrast, those who build and maintain strong ties to their community and family are more likely to live happy, engaged, healthy lives as a result.


Storylines: Checking All the Boxes for Living to 100

Storylines MV Narrative Resident Lounge Library with chess boardAs you look toward your own golden years and how to live to 100, what kind of life do you want to be living? Most of us would agree that the advice to eat vegetables, get exercise, stay connected with friends and family, and maintain mental stimulation all sounds pretty good... so what if you could have a lifestyle that includes all of those things, plus the excitement of traveling around the world as part of a fun, savvy community of global citizens?


Endless Adventure

Happy mixed race couple on a travel adventure riding a motorbike on road through nature

Storylines’ MV Narrative is a luxury residential ship circumnavigating the globe every three years. Through travel, residents aboard the vessel create cherished memories, expand their horizons and embrace the richness and diversity of life. By celebrating the spirit of exploration and discovery, Storylines empowers individuals to live fully, passionately, and joyfully as they embark on the adventure of a lifetime.


Community of Like-Minded Adventurers

Two happy retired couples traveling looking at a map with boat harbor behind them

Storylines’ strong sense of community serves as a cornerstone for living a long, healthy, and happy life. By fostering deep connections among people who share common values and passions, an environment is created that promotes social engagement, support, and belonging. Through shared experiences, meaningful interactions, and collective activities, residents form bonds that enrich their lives and contribute to their overall well-being.


Health and Well-Being


"Storylines’ goal is to add years to your life and life to your years." - Dr. Brian Martin, Storylines Chief Health Officer

Storylines' commitment to health creates a transformative impact on wellbeing, regardless of age. With state-of-the-art amenities such as our wellness center, day spa, farm-to-table restaurant, optimal aging clinic, lap pool, personal trainers, nutritionists, and more, residents have access to comprehensive resources that promote physical, mental, and emotional wellness. They also benefit from being part of a community whose members fully support each other in their quest for all-around wellness and thereby enhance the enjoyment of every aspect of living a healthy lifestyle.




Storylines' eight guiding principles, including contribution, participation, and mindset, are integral to fostering a sense of purpose among the residential community at sea, which is paramount for overall happiness. Through our commitment to giving back to communities and consistently immersing ourselves in diverse cultures and activities, residents are empowered to make meaningful contributions and engage authentically with the world around them.


Lifelong Learning and Personal Growth

Elderly couple traveling visiting ancients ruins of a Greek theatreBy providing opportunities for continuous education and self-improvement, the community is empowered to expand their horizons, discover new passions, and embrace the joy of learning throughout their lives. Residents have the chance to explore diverse cultures, languages, and perspectives, fostering a deep appreciation for the richness and diversity of the world.



Have you heard the term "YOLO" (You Only Live Once)? It's a philosophy that we wholeheartedly embrace here at Storylines! While the ages vary aboard MV Narrative, many of the residents are retirees for good reason... this is the ultimate way to enjoy retirement to the fullest! Whether or not your goal is to join the elite league of centenarians, a healthy, happy lifestyle like the one aboard the MV Narrative will help you make your golden years your best yet!





Topics: Health, Principles, Early Retirement, wellness

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