I love spending time with our elders. I always walk away with a smile on my face and a new appreciation. Recently, I sat down with some new friends at Mission Hills Senior Living to chat about “Lessons in Longevity.” Here some of the words of wisdom–and laughter–from my delightful meeting with Mitzi (98), Rose (96) and Arnie (88), a former standup comedian : )

Mitzi Spivak

Mitzi Spivak (98) “Moderation (‘but I should have been a lawyer’)”

Rose: It is wonderful you are doing this, Lauren. We often feel that very few people think about how we have made it to this age.

Arnie: I should leave now, because I don’t feel like your elder.

Please stay, Arnie…What do you all feel is the primary thing that has gotten you here today?

Mitzi: In my lifetime, I have been a very lucky woman, because I have had my health. My daughter said, ‘Mother, you never complain about anything.’ And I told her, ‘Look, I am a well woman now, wait til I get sick. Then you’ll hear from me!”

Arnie: I feel differently. I have never denied myself of anything. If I want to get toasted I will. If I want to starve myself for 48 hours, I will. I let my body do the talking.

Rose:  You are the exception to the rule!

He is only 88. You two do have a few years on him!

Arnie: Genetics do have a lot to do with it. My answer in life is that you are born crying, right? You might as well leave laughing.

So, health–whether you are born with it or practice it. What else?

Rose Zavodnik

Rose Zavodnik (96) “A positive attitude”

Rose: I have always been a positive person. I have never looked back. Tomorrow is another day.

Mitzi: Do unto others. That one has always served me well.

Arnie: Oh, I’d be in prison.

Rose: It is also very important to me that I have family who still honors me.

All great thoughts. What things do you do to keep your minds so sharp?

Mitzi: I play bridge. In fact, I am playing today.

Arnie: I read a lot. It is the greatest attribute a parent can give a child. You always learn something from a book.

Mitzi: I read the obituaries every day.

Arnie: And you’re not in them.

Arnie Stuart

Arnold “Arnie” Stuart (88) “You gotta have laughter”

Mitzi: I pass up the ones that are older and only read the ones that are young, because it concerns me. What is killing the young people of today?

Well, we hope to provide those young people with a few words of wisdom so you won’t be reading about them, Mitzi.

Rose: When you get to this age, your mind is willing, but your body sometimes just can’t keep up, and it is frustrating. But life teaches you good and bad and you can never give up. Embrace what life gives you and make the most of it!

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