It was April 12, 2017, when the world’s oldest living person passed away. Emma Morano lived in Italy and was 117 years, 137 days, and 16 hours old when she died peacefully. She truly lived a remarkable life that many people could well aspire to. Although few people will live to be her age, there is no reason we can’t all benefit from her way of life and improve our own quality of life and longevity. In many ways, living as long as she did had a lot to do with living a simple frugal life for 117 years.
There are many things that Emma Martina Luigi Morano did in the course of her life that in many ways defies conventional wisdom. Just maybe we could all learn something from the path she chose to follow all the years of her life.
A DIET LIKE NO OTHER
Just after World War 1 when Emma was just 20 years old she was diagnosed with Anemia. Her doctor advised her to eat two raw and one cooked egg per day. He also advised her to move to a milder climate.
Amazingly enough, she ate three eggs a day for the next 97 years. Just as her doctor suggested. She would have two raw eggs in the morning and another egg in an omelet later in the day. In the latter years of her life, eggs and biscuits were the cornerstones of her diet. It’s estimated that she ate well over 100.000 eggs in her lifetime.
At one time she ate meat, but when she heard that it could cause cancer she quit eating it. She cooked for herself until she was 112. It was usually her three eggs, and pasta with some ground beef until she stopped eating meat altogether. She really didn’t care all that much for fruit. As a rule, she seldom ate anything sweet. She tried it, but said it would make her dizzy.
It wasn’t until she was 115-years-old that she actually had live-in caregivers. For almost all of her life she was self-sufficient. Even though she lived alone she would set out a complete place setting for herself at her small kitchen table for all her meals.
THE IMPACT OF GEOGRAPHY ON LONGEVITY
When she was twenty and her doctor suggested she move to a milder climate, Emma moved to a small village called Verbania in Piedmont. It was in Northern Italy and was situated on Lake Maggiore.
Could this have something to do with her longevity?
Perhaps so. Italy has a very high life expectancy rate. One in ten people who live in Italy’s coastal village of Acciaroli live to be at least one hundred years old.
There are scientists who suspect the climate and the fact that most people in the region eat the Mediterranean Diet has a lot to do with it. Also, they believe traditional cooking with rosemary might also increase their longevity. Rosemary is a herb credited with improving health in old age.
WHO SAYS YOU DIE SOONER IF YOU LIVE ALONE?
You hear it a lot. Those who live a solitary life don’t seem to live as long as those who live with someone else. People who are married or live with someone supposedly live longer than single people.
So much that Emma Morano did flies in the face of conventional wisdom.
Her first love died in the First World War. She married someone else later in life. She left him in 1938 just prior to the Second World War, shortly after her only son died in infancy. Her husband was violent and she wanted no part of it.
She was a strong-willed woman and had no intention of putting up with the humiliation that comes with being subservient to a man. She once said, “I don’t want to be dominated by anyone.” As a result, she lived alone for the next 79 years.
A SIMPLE AND FRUGAL LIFE
She didn’t get sick all that often, but when she did she refused to go to the hospital and simply had no use for them. Emma believed that working hard and living the simple frugal life contributed greatly to her 117 years on this earth.
In the last years of her life a doctor would drop by her home and see her on a regular basis. Still, she never set foot in a hospital.
She worked in a factory until she was 79-years-old and lived in a small two-room apartment without all the trappings of modern society. Material goods or wealth had no place in her life. Her main concern was just having the essentials to live from one day to the next.
To her, it was very important to watch what you eat and get plenty of sleep. As a matter of fact, she often said that her diet, sleeping well, and being single were the main real reasons she lived so long. Whatever she did sure seemed the work for her.
She was proud of the plaque she received from the Guiness Book of World Records when she officially became the oldest person in the world.
As her birthdays arrived in the last decade or so of her life she would get visitors from all over the world. Emma was quite happy when she reached the ripe old age of 117 and at the time of her last birthday felt pretty good. What really impressed many people was her amazing memory. She forgot nothing, so I suppose that rules out dementia or Azheimer’s.
Many people who knew her claimed that her sense of humor never left her. She found it pretty humorous when people would come from as far away as Australia or America to visit her on her birthday and pay their respects.
WOMEN DO TEND TO LIVE LONGER THEN MEN
When Emma Morano passed away at the age of 117 years and 137 days, she was the last recorded person to have been born before 1900, as she was born in 1899.
The ten oldest people on record are all women. Although Emma Morano lived to be 117, a French woman named Jeanne Calment lived to be 122-years-old and died in 1997. She outlived her daughter and grandson.
Of those oldest ten women, five lived in Japan, three in Italy, one in Spain, and of course, Jeanne Calment lived in France.
WHAT LESSONS DOES EMMA TEACH US?
So, what are we the make of this? What can we take away from the amazing life of Emma Morano?
Is it essential to be happily married in order to live a long and fruitful life? It appears not. Do you have to live in the biggest house on the highest hill with the biggest room full of money? I don’t think so. Do you have to rush to the hospital or doctor every time you feel out of sorts and head home with a prescription clutched in your hand? I guess not.
Not one of these things was important to Emma Morano. She was strong-willed, had a good work ethic, an excellent sense of humor, and was ferociously independent. She ate a sound diet that worked for her and included very little processed food. Sleeping well was a high priority for her.
Just maybe we would all live longer if we just simplified our lives and gave special attention to those everyday things that are truly important. We are so fixated on wealth and material goods. It’s so easy to run to the doctor every time we feel a bit out of sorts. It’s almost diabolical how much we depend on prescription drugs to make it from one day to the next.
Here is a woman that did just fine living a simple and frugal life for 117 years.
What is the biggest lesson I learned from Emma Morano’s amazing story? Maybe the biggest lesson of all is that you will never be lonely if you are happy with the one you’re with when you’re alone.
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