Editorial: Looking back over a century

By Michele Hunter

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Peter Harvey has got "a cheeky look in his eye and a confident grin"
Peter Harvey has got "a cheeky look in his eye and a confident grin"

Looking at the photo of Tauranga's Peter Harvey, it's hard to believe his body has weathered a century.

Sure he's no spring chicken, but he's got a cheeky look in his eye and a confident grin that reveals the good sense of humour he says helps keep him young.

The Cherrywood resident has served in a world war, run a bank, raised a family and cruised the world. His mind must be brimming with the memories of experiences, hardships, achievements and life lessons this technological, instant generation cannot begin to comprehend. In my time as a journalist I have interviewed a few centenarians and there's one thing they all have in common - an appreciation for life. For some their bodies have given up, but their minds remain sharp, confident and wise. They have experienced every human emotion, conflict, pain, heartache and joy in their 10 decades.

They admire youth but relish the simplicity of their own younger years, when technology didn't invade every facet of their day, the young respected the old and family life came before career or money.

They know the true value of luxuries we now consider necessities and find joy in the memories of dances, sing-a-longs and love letters from sweethearts overseas - hardly a mention of the backdrop to war and depression going on at the time.

In a world where a different kind of depression is rampant, we could all benefit from living a more simple life.

John Kirwan recently asked a woman interviewing him if she felt guilty that she and her husband both had to work to pay a mortgage and support their two children. He then answered the question for her: "Yes, you do, but it's unavoidable... you put that [stress] on top of a personal issue. We shouldn't have to deal with all that stuff, but these days we do - that's why it's (depression) a modern illness."

I think there's a lot to be said for living a simple life, who knows, maybe that alone is the true secret to longevity.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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