Four Secrets to a Long and Happy Life

The oldest American just passed away at 114 years old. He shared his longevity wisdom before he died. I found his wisdom to be spot on and relatively easy to put into practice.

First, embrace change! He was a child with no running water and lived to see a world where phones, computers, and the internet are always with us! To be able to embrace change enables us to live with less stress and conflict. It pushes us to view events and situations with a positive outlook. Always ready to be half full, see the opportunity to grow and learn in any moment!

Second, he only ate two meals a day. What do we learn from this? Find balance in our lives. Don’t eat too much or too little. We can use this as a metaphor not only for food but for all ways we walk in the world. Exercise, work, play — all are important and enriching but in moderation or more specifically in balance with all things in your life.

Third, work hard and harder! He retired and then started another job. Walter believed in a strong body and mind to keep you living long and strong. Continuing to work hard is an important value — to be and feel productive in our community.

Lastly, give to others! Something we all already know. Giving to our community, giving to each other, enriches our lives, not just the receivers. It is the strongest way to take care of your heart: Doing acts of kindness for people around you.

As you think about these four important values: productivity, balance, positive outlook in all situations, and helping others — think about small ways you can work on these everyday in your life. Small changes will go far — volunteer once a month, walk more, drive less even once a week — small steps for success!

Blessings, Deb

About Deb Dusansky

Deb has been a Jewish educator for over 20 years directing and teaching children, adults, and families. She is currently the director for Boulder Stepping Stones, an independent family education opportunity for interfaith and Jewish unaffiliated. Deb has been in private practice for over 14 years counseling individuals, couples, and families. She specializes in spiritually centered counseling.

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  1. Walter Breuning was NOT the oldest American…that is Besse Cooper of Monroe, GA, born Aug 26 1896.

    Walter was the oldest MAN in America and the world, as recognized by Guinness World Records. The title was oldest MAN because women tend to live longer.

    Walter was born Sept 21 1896 and passed away Apr 14 2011.


    Robert Young

    Senior Consultant for Gerontology

    Guinness World Records

  2. Thank you, Robert, for keeping our contributors honest and our readers informed. –Ed.