secret sauceBy now, you may have tired from New Year’s resolutions or promises to meet goals this year. You’re in good company. Nationwide surveys on how we Americans fare with our well-intentioned pledges in January find that only about 9% of us keep our annual resolutions. Yikes. I know I’ve added to the low number for many a year.

So why bother at all? Why put yourself through the personal vows to tidy up your life and become a better you? I wish I could have asked French nun Sister André that before she died this past week at the young age of 118. Sister André who lived in a nursing home in Southern France, passed away just weeks shy of 119. The Gerontology Research Group had listed her as the oldest person in the world. Now there’s an American-born whippersnapper living in Spain who takes the senior title at age 115.

Longevity Secrets

Sister André was born February 11, 1904, and lived through two world wars, 18 different French presidents and a case of COVID-19. And undoubtedly, her share of personal challenges and telemarketing phone calls. 🙂 Near the end of her life, she struggled with poor eyesight, compromised hearing and persistent joint pain.

As I read an Associated Press story about Sister André’s simple yet intriguing life, I kept wondering what kept her going. What nudged her again and again to bend and not break?

What was her secret sauce to longevity?

When the French media quizzed her about what kept her alive with such a long life, Sister André replied that “working . . . makes you live. I worked until I was 108.” Get out! Some of you are gasping right now at the very thought!

Another one of her longevity secrets is her daily nutritional staple: a glass of wine and some chocolate. I can hear many of you in a collective shout out, “Amen, Sister!” One final point about this centenarian is the mention of her faith. As a nun, she leaned into regular prayer and praise with the Almighty, but the AP tribute article on Sister André also quoted her saying, “I thank the heavens . . . I thank God.”

Three Lifestyle Habits for a Lifetime

So there you go, three lifestyle habits that could just carry you through into your 100s.

  • Work that makes you live.
  • Enjoyment of daily food and drink.
  • Thankfulness to God.

Could these be the New Year’s resolutions we all can make and keep in 2023 and beyond? I’m game to try if you are. Surely we can beat that paltry 9% of resolution keepers.

One final note: Another French woman, Jeanne Calment, who also lived in Southern France, died at age 122 in 1997. Jeanne is said to hold the modern-time record for longevity (i.e. don’t forget about the Bible’s Methuselah who lived for 969 years). Perhaps these Southern belle French ladies were onto something with their secret sauce.

Maybe we need change our resolutions to thank God, enjoy our daily sustenance and find work that makes us live in Southern France.