This story originally appeared at Goodfulness by Timothy Roberts.
What is the secret to living a long life? Speak with a centenarian (people who are 100 years old) and you’ll hear about eating healthy or daily exercise, while others credit their longevity to good genes. Susanna Mushatt Jones, 116 years young, claimed that eating bacon was the reason she lived so long.
In 2015, a survey of centenarians was commissioned by a group called Holiday Retirement. Each individual surveyed was over 100 years of age. Of the many questions they were asked, one question was for the centenarians to share the secret to living such a long and meaningful life. Many of those interviewed shared common answers: spending time with family, saving money early, not running away from life’s problems, and staying physically active.
One response from the centenarians interviewed was particularly unconventional. Jessie Gallan, 109 years old, gave a response that people have absolutely loved.
Gallan was born on a farm in 1906 in Kintore, Scotland. She had six siblings, five sisters, and one brother, and all of them grew up in a tiny two-room cottage. They slept together on mattresses stuffed with straw and Gallan only attended school for a short time before she left to work in a farm kitchen. She went on to work as a housemaid for a wealthy businessman. Eventually, she started a career in the service industry in both the country and city.
Gallan moved into Crosby House, a residential care home for seniors. One of the support staff told their local news station: “Jessie is a lovely woman. She has got her best friend here, Sarah Jane, and they are always together. She likes her music and likes her exercise class and is a very independent person. She is always walking about.”
The staff member’s kind words suggest that centenarian Jesse Gallan might credit her old age to being active and social. Jessie passed away in March 2015 but left behind a secret to a long life that is an example of her independence and dynamic character.
“My secret to a long life has been staying away from men,” said Gallan. “They’re just more trouble than they’re worth.”
In addition to avoiding men, Gallan also added a dietary component to her secret to long life.
“I like my porridge. I have all my life.”
Gallan clearly enjoyed socializing with friends, staying active, and found longevity in staying away from men, the proverbial “cherry on top” that helped her live such a long life.
Healthy habits and healthy choices seem to be a part of the secret to living a long life!