GPS FOR THE SOUL

What Salustiano Sanchez, Who Lived To Be 112, Can Teach Us About Living A Good, Long, Happy Life

09/17/2013 03:57 am ET
AP

A banana and a daily dose of six Anacin tablets are what 112-year-old Salustiano "Shorty" Sanchez-Blazquez attributed to his (very) long life.

Born June 8, 1901, in village of El Tejado de Bejar, Spain, the father of two and grandfather of many passed away this Friday, Sept. 13, leaving behind some important life lessons, whether he knew it or not.

While certainly a healthy habit, the fruit-eating ritual isn't the only thing that contributed to Sanchez's long and happy life. Below, find a few guidelines for living the good life, extracted from the life of this impressive man who lived quite a long one.

Be passionately curious.
The centenarian was fascinated by the dulzaina, a double-reed wind instrument in the oboe family, which he taught himself to play. And he didn't keep this passion to himself: Shorty shared his love for the instrument and performed at weddings and celebrations in Spain.

Have some humility.
When asked how he felt to earn the title of world's oldest living man, Sanchez said he didn't feel accomplished for being older than most. While there are some tried and true tactics for aging gracefully, his perspective on aging may have added candles to his cake. One study found that our attitudes about aging may affect longevity: Dreading the inevitable tick of father time fared worse for long lives.

Find love and hold on to it.
Sanchez, who married his wife, Pearl, in 1934 must have had an inkling that true love is one of the keys to happiness. The Harvard Grant Study, which followed a group of 268 Harvard males for 75 years, revealed that love is really all that matters when if comings to living a meaningful life.

Discover the hobbies that make you light up -- and stick with them.
The centenarian made time for fun. According to Guinness World Records, Sanchez found respite in "gardening, crossword puzzles and nightly gin rummy games with friends." His green thumb may have attributed to his 100+ years: Gardening has been shown to relieve stress, improve depression symptoms and connects people to the earth -- which has spiritual rewards.

And even if Sanchez's card games ever got heated (which, one might imagine they would), the ritual of socializing with his pals most likely contributed to an enriching sense of purpose and well-being.

For more on aging gracefully, click here.

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