HOW TO LIVE ONE HUNDRED YEARS
Dr. J. M. Peebles Appears before
Occasion Was His 98th Birthday Anniversary--He
His talk in part was as follows:
I am safely embarked at the present time on my ninety-ninth yearly voyage across the tempestuous ocean of human life.
Often I am asked, "How have you lived so long in this struggling and tiresome world?" Negatively, I have not lived in ease and idleness, nor have I lived to sensually fatten on human flesh, animal foods, or various stimulants.
"But what are the general causes of your nearing a century of years?" Many are the reasons. In the first place I was born of healthy yet poor parents in the pure, bracing air of mountainous Vermont. Becoming, in middle life, a practicing physician, I feel to deliberately say that, breathing being the first thing in life and the last thing at death. It is natural and necessary that we breathe pure air by day and also by night. The next reason is light; light is an inspiring and vitalizing force, and sunshine is ever a strong and powerful invigorator.
Be as wise as the birds and flocks in the field--retiring early at night and rising with the morning sun--is sound common sense. Dress loosely; to firmly compress any portion of human organization causes illness or gradual suicide. White is much healthier clothing than black. Let the hat or bonnet rest lightly upon the head. Multitudes in the East go with bared heads; they are never bald. Sandals are healthier than shoes. Eating animal flesh is both expensive and morally injurious to the higher nature. To state that it gives added strength to the human system is an insult to the desert camel, the elephant, the ox and the faithful horse. Tobacco being unknown to scholastic Greece or imperial Rome, is an expensive and filthy habit, causing a repulsive stench to the breath and filling the garments and lovely home with distasteful and unhealthy odors. It has not one redeeming quality.
Drinking tea and coffee are not among the necessities of human life. Having seen green tea prepared in India, Ceylon and China, I pronounce it a certain nerve and blood poison. All people, in a sense, are artists. Their habits and their secret conduct tinge their facial appearance. Perfumes do not strengthen or sweeten digestion. Paints and powders do not produce facial smiles of beauty.
This astounding twentieth century not only pleadingly invites, but persistently demands seers and sages--demands plain and brave talk, clean habits, righteous purposes, and a rigid practice of all the ennobling, uplifting principles that tend to promote long life, brotherhood and the redemption of a world-wide humanity.
Old age in a rightly lived life is rich and golden in meditation. I would sooner be 98 than 48.
Sick of the city's tumult, and the world's selfish strife, I sometimes ask: "Is there no sunny nook in this great Father-Mother universe, where books, birds, flowers and the music of ever-flowing streams tell and sing of quietness and peace? Is there no tropic isle in southern seas, far away from the world's traffics, suspicions, competitions and crushing jealousies, where loving hearts blend like rainbow hue--blend as do the joys of angels and fadeless love of the gods?"
Upon the whole, this is a beautiful world, being God's world. Five times I have circled it. The incense of Oriental gardens still cling to my garments and the solemn music of the historic Nile still murmurs in my memory. Spices never lose their perfumes. Good thoughts never die. Modern science and psychic research--God's right and left-hand angels--have demonstrated the continuity of life. Death is simply a disguised deliverance, or, like the budding rose, it climbs up on the garden wall to bloom on the other side.
Inspiration is universal. It is over-swept with grandeur all the past ages, and is just as fresh now as in time's earliest morning. Poets, as much as prophets, are illumined with a divine radiance. They think, they write and sing from the very depths of their being.
Aged, very aged in years, I am, soon I can say with Tennyson--
"I go to prove my soul,
I see my way as birds see their
I shall arrive."
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