February 2, 2011

Me. Time.

A few days ago the world's oldest woman, Eunice Sanborn, died at 114 years old. She was born in 1896. Before the Wright Brothers flew. She outlived her only child, a daughter who died at 90 years old. She also outlived three husbands and joked of scoping out a fourth!

The new reigning champ of longevity is Besse Cooper, who's also 114.

And the oldest person ever recorded lived until 122 years old!!!
Also a woman.

Right now, there are 85 people who are older than 110 years old; 80 of them are women, only five are men. According to the Gerontology Research Group, there are a few factors that play into this extra-long longevity. Among them, genetics, a healthy body weight, and being female.

This confuses me. Especially when you tie in the last factor that plays into a long life: a positive outlook.
If it's true that positive, stress-free people live longer, then why are women outliving men?

The American Psychological Association says, in general, women tend to report higher levels of stress than men. Women also have a higher tendency to feel like they're not able to manage their stress well. They're less likely to set time aside for themselves. They feel more "responsible" for the well-being of everyone and everything.

On average, men tend to be taller, stronger, faster, less likely to be overweight, and have lower stress than women. But in many countries, women tend to live an average 10 years longer.

Recently, scientists have pointed to one key factor in these women's long lives. Friends.
In fact, having close social ties could increase your chances of a longer life (7.5 years longer on average) by 50%. In fact, the advantage to having friends can extend your life just as long as it would if you were a non-smoker!

Like everyone, there have been days when I've felt like life has been pretty rough. Thankfully, those have been the days when my friends come to my rescue. They remind me to keep my chin up and to keep pushing forward. They give me purpose. In a sense, they save me.
Could good friends really be saving - and extending - our lives?

I come from a long line of long lives. My grandpa lived until 100. With such good genes and even better friends, I imagine I could live forever.

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