Jeanne Calment was strong at 122, an age which very few people can hope to
reach. She remains an enigma, an anomaly to scientists and experts who
continue to be baffled by her longevity. What was the secret recipe that
enabled Jeanne Calment to live such a long and healthy life?
First is the
hereditary factor. According to the findings of a recent research, many of
Jeanne's ancestors had long life-spans and many of them lived to the age of
70 and above.
Jeanne's father lived till the ripe old age of 93 while her mother was 86
when she died. Her brother lived till 97. Naturally, Jeanne inherited a set
of good genes conducive to long life. Jeanne's ancestors married within the
same socio-economic class of craftsmen and traders. This meant financial
security and a life that was less stressful. Jeanne herself married her
second cousin who inherited a large silk store in Arles.
Jeanne also led a healthy lifestyle with plenty of exercise. In her
youth, she was a keen hunter and tennis player. Even at the age of 90, when
most people would have called it quits or would be contented just to sit
back and relax, Jeanne was going about doing her errands on a bicycle. To
keep herself fit, this incredible woman would do workouts at the gym even
when she was well past 100.
Another factor which explains her longevity is her happy-go-lucky,
cheerful disposition. She had her share of griefs and misfortunes. She lost
her husband, her daughter, her son-inlaw, and her only grandson. She had
very poor eyesight due to cataracts and she had almost lost her sense of
hearing. Yet she counted all her blessings and treasured all the happy
moments of her life. She was resolute and determined to spend the rest of
her life in peace and comfort. She found pleasure in giving generously. In
her own words, her advice to those who wish to live long, healthy lives is
'Always keep your smile'. Her positive outlook was perhaps instrumental in
slowing and reducing the effects of ageing.
When asked to account for her exceptionally long life, she replied
without reserve, 'God must have forgotten me'. Her love for life kept her
going. When word got around that a book on her was to be written, she could
not hide her elation. 'I am flattered,' she said. 'I've waited a hundred and
ten years to be famous, and I intend to make the most of it for as long as I
Besides these, one can assume with justification that Jeanne's longevity
was also, to some extent, due to modern medical care. Spending her years in
a retirement home, she was attended to by some of the country's top
physicians. Although not afflicted by any major ailments, Jeanne received
the best care and support from the staff of the home.
Begin your summary as follows : Jeanne Calment lived till the ripe old
age of 122 ...