Many of us are in constant search of the secret to staying young, and many have found their own formula to slow down time and, hopefully, extend this wild and crazy ride we call life.
Fittingly, let’s celebrate one blessed human and her longevity secret. Hers is the perfect example of a life that’s been lived fully and fruitfully at 109 years old. This amazing woman is Jessie Lichauco.
She’s famous for her philanthropic efforts, especially in World War II, together with her husband Marcial, a decorated and highly respected diplomat. Behind closed doors, though, in the peaceful and relaxing company of loved ones, she is simply known as Tita Jessie.
I am blessed as I have met and known her as my husband Wopsy’s grand-aunt. Such a loving and inspiring woman. To listen to her relive what she has seen and experienced, how the world changed in front of her very eyes, to spend time with her and learn how to live not just a long life, but a fulfilling one at that — these are all such privileges.
So today, as many are always so curious to know, I’ll share the pearls of wisdom imparted by Tita Jessie herself on how she maintains her youthful look all these years.
“Life is a bowl of cherries, sweet, sour, red and white.”
“Life is full of compromises. I don’t worry about things over which I have no control.”
“It’s a shame if you let one incident overshadow all the other years of good things.”
“Love, tolerance, respect and patience are important aspects in any relationship.”
“Open your eyes and your heart — everything else will follow.”
Healthy and lucid
These are some of her simple philosophies and habits. Though easy to remember, they are quite difficult to practice and need a lot of mindfulness to learn. I love them and they often come to mind whenever I’m faced with difficult situations. I ask myself, “What would Tita Jessie do?”
At 109, Tita Jessie is still very healthy and lucid. Her diet consists mainly of light meals with lots of fruits and veggies, and avoiding red meat.
But more than sharing her thoughts about her physical health, Tita Jessie teaches us every single day that youth isn’t just about looking young on the outside, but about keeping her mind youthful, too. This is why a part of her routine involves reading and learning about current events. Along with the years’ worth of wisdom she carries, it is no wonder that Tita Jessie is not only loved for her warm and nurturing ways, but also for the wise, amazing woman that she has become — a woman continuously transformed by the world since 1912.
Party we call life
Nowadays, her life is less about her exciting adventures and more about living peacefully with the ones she cares about the most. You will often find her by her majestic Banyan tree along the Pasig River at the place she has called home since 1946. It is the place where she raised her seven children, and where she continues to nurture her body, heart, and soul.
Truly, I look up to Tita Jessie and I hope to live a long and healthy life of more than a hundred years old so I can enjoy this party we call life.