Shirley, 100: “Why Am I 100? I’ve Been Lucky”
To celebrate Service95’s 100th issue, we interviewed a group of very special people – all over 100 years old – inviting them to share their wisdom. Here, 100-year-old Shirley shares her story…
Shirley is a real character, with a sharp sense of humour and a thirst for life. Born in Virginia, US, she spent 53 happy years with her first husband, Irving, raising two children in a suburb outside of Baltimore and spending half the year in Palm Beach, Florida. After her second husband passed away in his nineties, Shirley had two more boyfriends – both of whom died at age 99. She met her current 100-year-old partner, Eddie, at the retirement community in Palm Beach, where she has lived since she was 95.
An avid card player, Shirley has won national Bridge championships in the US. She still plays poker or bridge most days. She didn’t have a career – nor did she care to have one. She was busy playing bridge, canasta, mahjong and golf, taking care of the family, helping her husband part-time at his dental office, and having an active social life. This continues; each evening she and boyfriend Eddie dine with friends at one of the five restaurants at the retirement complex.
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Her perfect nails and hair are important to her, so she goes to the salon weekly. According to her daughter Jane, Shirley “lives in the moment, never dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. She is tough, resilient, never complains and is a lot of fun.”
Here she shares some thoughts on her long life with her grandson Mel Ottenberg, editor-in-chief of Interview magazine:
What has been the happiest moment of your life so far?
I’m waiting for it.
What has been the wildest, most surprising thing you’ve ever done?
I’m waiting for it!
Have you had a lifelong hobby?
I’ve played bridge all my life.
Has anything surprised you about being 100?
I was never thought to be pretty or anything like that, but now everybody is amazed at the way I look, because I do look pretty good!
Why do you think you’ve had such a long life?
Because I’ve been lucky.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about aging?
I don’t know, I’ve never thought about it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Nothing. I’ve been perfect.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Lucky, lucky, lucky.