The Stylish Centenarian

Author: Jerry Cahn

The Stylish Centenarian


Inspiration- when we want to take on a difficult challenge, it helps to be inspired by others who have been on a similar quest and proved it can be done.

For centuries, no-one believed that a human being could run the 4-minute mile. Then Roger Bannister did it in 1954. Since then over 1500 people have done it.  Good health, nutrition, training and commitment have all played a role in paving the road for people who want to achieve this goal.

In the last century, life spans have doubled. Life expectancy has increased from 40+ years of age to 8-+ years of age. As noted by Steven Johnson in Extra Time, this is despite diseases (like the Spanish Flu) and two World Wars. While recent event s, such as opioid- and Covid 19-realted deaths have reduced the actual longevity statistic slightly, all data suggest the potential to live longer lives – to 100+ is going to be realized. Researchers studying people in their 90s, recently projected that children born today will live to 103-104.

Most of us didn’t expect we would live as long as we might.  We were raised in a world that saw “retirement” from a productive life ending around age 65 and having a few golden years of leisure thereafter. Some people are tied to the belief that retirement and Modern Elder status are part of a defined stage/age of our lives. Increasingly, other adults are realizing that retirement from a focus on work can take place at any time (or even multiple times) of our elongated adult life. They believe that the extra time we have for life isn’t necessarily post-retirement, but instead time spread throughout our journey of adulthood.

Age Brilliantly was founded to help people who realize they can enjoy a fulfilling life doing what they want as long as possible. This means sharing inspirational stories of people who are defying old norms and leading the lives they want. By focusing on life’s essentials, they are preserving their freedom of movement by preserving their health and financial freedoms, maintaining positive relationships and pursuing passions and purposes for as long as they want.

Twice during this week, I learned about two people about to become centenarians.  (Happy Birthday!) The Wall Street Journal featured an inspirational story on Iris Apfel – The Stylish Centenarian. She started her career as an interior designer; she had a passion for couture clothes and costume jewelry which she gathered from her travels around the world. She was launched into stardom at age 84 when the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art had an exhibition featuring items from her vast collection.  For her coming birthday, Bergdorf Goodman will dedicate a window that that celebrates her maximalist style.

Why does she work so feverishly?” I want to stay alive. If I stopped working, I’d be gone”.  Moreover, her life proves that age doesn’t become a barrier to living in full color in a funky, cool and individualist way. She’s leading a fulfilling, elongated life – and is an inspiration to us all.

Final note, Share with us information on other interesting people in their 90s and 100+, so we can continue to share and inspire other members!   Let’s Age Brilliantly.