Jeanne Louise Calment lived to 122 which is confirmed as the longest recorded human lifespan.  By the end of her life she had lost her eyesight and was hard of hearing, but she retained a sharp mind and a zest for life.  She died of natural causes in her native country of France.

At 85 she took up fencing; at 100 she was still riding her bike.  At 114 she starred in a film about her life.  At 117 she gave up smoking, but not for health reasons; she was nearly blind by 117 so lighting a cigarette became difficult.

When she was asked what she thought the cause of her death would be, she said, “I think I will die of laughter.”

We all want long lives, measured not just in duration, but measured by our sense of happiness, quality and meaning.  As the saying goes, it is not the years in your life, but the life in your years that counts.

So, how do we add life to our years?  Our aliveness grows in direct proportion to doing for others and being kind, while not neglecting our own need to have fun and enjoy ourselves.

Jonathan Sacks says, “Make space in your life for the things that matter, for family and friends, love and generosity, fun and joy.”

Life expectancy keeps increasing.  We have more time than ever to do good things that make a difference to others.  And more time than ever to add enjoyment to our lives.

It’s never too late to take up fencing or bike riding. And you’re never too old to laugh!

Linda Sauget is the author of “If You Think It”…and lives in Ft. Lauderdale. Linda is also available for speaking engagements. Please email her at

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