The Secret of Longevity

CousinHOne of my Mom’s cousins is in his early 90s – I’ll call him Cousin H. Everyone who meets him thinks he’s much younger. He’s one of those people who always has a sparkle in his eye, and a joke or an interesting tidbit to share. He is retired, but has plenty of hobbies and projects going on. He quite obviously loves people. Apparently he’s also seen as quite a catch by some of his younger sister’s friends!

I’ve known him since I was a very little girl, and even though I was quite shy, he and I always connected. For many years, I hadn’t seen as much of him, for no real reason other than life gets busy. But over the past couple of years, my side of the family has reconnected with him and he regularly attends family events.

Cousin H’s birthday is the day after mine, and last month at the family potluck, we were celebrated with a yummy chocolate cake and the birthday song. I stood next to where he sat at my Aunt’s kitchen table. As folks were bustling around cutting and serving the cake, I was in the way, so I scooted a bit closer to the table. Cousin H patted his knee, and I sat down, suddenly reminded of playing with him at family reunions decades ago.

“I feel like a little kid,” I quietly confided.

He leaned closer and said, “Well, that’s the secret to staying young. Just keep feeling that way!” We chatted a bit and he told me that he plays all the time.

“I play with Legos!” Cousin H. confessed with a grin.

I told him how I love to play with rocks, and showed him the ones I had in my pocket that day. We drew the attention of a couple of other folks at the table, who were curious about the rocks and what they were for (the answer is, “for fun!”). We ate our cake and shared laughter with those nearby, parting with our usual hugs.

That moment of shared wisdom really stuck in my memory, though.

The secret of longevity from a healthy and vital man in his 90s: keep on playing. Thanks, Cousin H.!


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