When interviewed by her local paper a day before her 100th birthday, Mary T. Alexander told the reporter, “I’m not like a lot of people.” She’s clearly right. Few black women born a century ago in Mobile, Alabama earned a college degree in 1943, and later a master’s degree. Not many had careers in diverse industries including teaching, working for the federal government, and working at Avon – to name just a few. Fewer yet are still living to tell their stories – and still adding pages to that story every day.
Apart From the Crowd
Her self-confidence clearly set Mary apart from the crowd early on. When pressed as to the secret of her longevity, Mary replied, “Being satisfied with me. Not having to have somebody to support me, and not just having anybody to come in (to my life), and willing to live alone and be happy.”
Mary recounts three marriages, two children, and numerous careers – through all of which she remained her authentic self. While her sense of humor definitely helped along the way, Mary also relied heavily on the values she was raised with, particularly telling the truth. Whether she knew it or not over the years, Mary was focusing on her strengths and virtues, and that enabled her to thrive during the course of her life.
Today, the study of Positive Psychology helps people of all ages to identify, focus on, and thrive as a result of those strengths and values. The stuff that makes Mary, and the rest of us, “not like a lot of people.”
Mary is clearly leading a meaningful and fulfilling life – regardless of her age. She has lived her life in the way she truly wanted to, leaning into her interests and passions, to create joyful life experiences in the areas of love, work, and play. That is something we all aspire to in life. It’s at the heart of the 100 Year Lifestyle and living at 100% for 100 years or more. And, it can be part of your healthy longevity as well.
To get the help you need to keep your spine and nervous system functioning at their best for 100 years or more so that you can take your authentic self into your second century, find a 100 Year Lifestyle provider near you. For some inspiration on the journey, get more of a peak into the amazing Mary T. Alexander, keep reading.