When I’m a hundred years old, I wonder what I’ll be doing—in fact, I wonder if I’ll even be alive. Modern medicine is constantly increasing the span of active life, so maybe, after blowing out my hundredth candle, I’ll be heading out for a night on the town and atoning for it the next day at the gym. I hope that’s what the future has in store for me, so it’s inspiring to read these stories of centenarians whose accomplishments prove that age is just a number.
1. Canadian Does Laps Around Younger Swimmers
After one-hundred-year-old Jaring Timmerman, from Winnipeg, Canada, set a new world record in the backstroke, he earned the title of Canada’s Swimming Centenarian. According to Fox News, he swam one hundred meters in three minutes and fifty-two seconds, beating the previous world record of just over four and a half minutes.
Timmerman is a role model for late bloomers—very late bloomers. He didn’t start competing until he was eighty, proof that you’re never too old to start something new.
His secret to success? A good diet, exercise, and the fact that he’s the only one swimming in the 100- to 104-year-old category.
2. The One-Hundred-Year Dash
One hundred seems to be a good age for record breaking. According to the Guardian, a South African man named Philip “Flying Phil” Rabinowitz also chose his hundredth year to challenge the limits of human capability.
In 2004, Rabinowitz (who passed away in 2006) clocked 30.86 seconds in the one-hundred-meter run at a Cape Town stadium. The previous record, held by Austrian Erwin Jaskulski, was 36.19. The Guardian reports that Rabinowitz ran an even faster time a week earlier, but that it couldn’t be verified because of a faulty timer.
Rabinowitz’s secret to longevity was taking good care of his health. He drank fresh-squeezed orange juice every morning before breakfast, snacked on an apple after every meal, and walked four miles a day to work at his daughter’s factory.
“Oh, I feel wonderful now, absolutely wonderful,” he told the Guardian a few years ago. “I don’t know how long it is going to be like this. Every time I go, I break my own record. I get younger and younger.”
3. Now, That’s Job Loyalty
If Social Security goes bankrupt, we may all end up like Errett “Eddie” Horst, a Minnesota centenarian who still works half days at the company he has owned since 1955. The difference is that Horst really loves his job, and stays with it out of sheer loyalty. Horst, who marked his one hundredth birthday in February 2009, according to UPI, still punches the clock at Globe Publishing in South St. Paul.
It’s his work that keeps him young, says his son, Bill Horst. “He would’ve been gone at eighty-five if he had retired,” Bill told a reporter from the Pioneer Press. “He comes here every day, and it makes him feel like he’s a part of the place. People—his old clients—still come in here to see him and call to see how he’s doing.”
Though Eddie Horst may not have broken any world records, his dedication and conscientiousness are feats of strength we all can emulate.
No Expiration Date
These three centenarians’ everyday accomplishments prove that there is indeed life after one hundred. Whether they’re breaking world records or simply enjoying life, these men and women inspire us by showing us that youth is not just for the young.