by Kate Abbey-Lambertz, the Huffington Post
Happy Birthday, Mother Talley!
Jeralean Talley is America’s oldest living woman on record. And as she turns 115, we’d all do well to follow her example.
“Mother Talley,” as she’s sometimes called, celebrates her birthday Friday. Born in 1899, the supercentenarian has seen three centuries, and still seems to be going strong. According to the Associated Press, she’s visiting the doctor Friday, but still feels healthy.
The Gerontology Research Group keeps a record of the validated longest-living people in the world. According to the GRG, Misao Okawa, who is 116 and lives in Japan, is the oldest living person. Talley is a close second.
Talley lives in Inkster, Mich. but was born Jeralean Kurtz in Montrose, Ga. She lived on a farm where she picked cotton and peanuts, according to Time. She moved to Michigan in 1935 and married her husband, Alfred Talley, in 1936. The two were together 52 years before he died.
It’s not surprising that Talley gained some wisdom over her 115 years. Here are some of her simple, but timeless, words to live by.
Follow the Golden Rule.
Talley has repeatedly given the advice that you should treat others how you want to be treated. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, that’s my way of living,” she told WJBK-TV last year.
Always have a sense of humor.
Talley apparently tried to drive just one time, and failed miserably, as she tells the Detroit Free Press. But telling the story of that failed attempt, complete with a few expletives, cracks her up — and us, too.
Talley went bowling until she was 104, and still has an annual fishing trip.
But don’t be afraid to occasionally indulge.
Talley is known for making headcheese, a jellied loaf made of various pig parts, and has a sweet tooth, according to Time.
Have strong beliefs.
Talley’s faith is a large part of her life, and she’ll be celebrating her birthday at her local church this weekend. When asked why she lives so long, she told the Free Press, “It’s all in the good Lord’s hands.”
Surround yourself with loved ones.
Talley was married for half a century. Now, she lives with her daughter and has great-great-grandchildren. One of her favorite activities is playing with her young great-great-grandson, according to the Free Press.
Be humble, and act wisely.
“I don’t have much education, but what little sense I got, I try to use it,” Talley told WJBK. There’s a powerful message in her modesty.