We had a very special birthday at Edgewood last week. Edgewood Helena resident Eva Seeley turned 100 years old! We were privileged to interview her to learn her secret to living so vibrantly. How does someone live to a century and with such grace? “I was born on June 21st, 1923. That’s the longest day of the year—my mother said she never forgot it.”
We often wonder if some secret fountain of youth is hiding in plain sight to show us how to achieve this milestone. Is it eating oodles of kale for every meal, or avoiding sugar, dairy, gluten, or red meat?
When asked if there’s a secret to her success, Eva replied, “Just living. A lot of people lay back and say this is it, and I can’t do that. Not me; I gotta try it. Nowadays, there’s so much going on; you have to keep up with it by being positive.”
Her can-do perspective may very well be the secret fountain of youth. Eva said, “Everything can be done if you want to. If you want it, you can do it.” Eva has lived her entire life on the premise that hard work will take you places, and this year, it’s taking her to 100!
Eva is in excellent health. She said with a kind smile and a twinkle in her eye,
When you think about it, I am one of the lucky people in the world. Not too many can say at my age that they don’t have anything that’s killing them. 100 you don’t get very often.
Eva had been exercising in physical therapy just before the interview. She said it’s helping her keep moving and that she thinks it’s essential for everyone to do that. This ideation has been deeply woven into her fabric since birth.
Eva explained that her parents, especially her mother, were her benchmarks for staying busy. “My parents came from Europe. We’re Hungarian. We grew up in a family where our parents worked hard, and there was always something to do. My mother and dad always said, ‘First, you do what you have to, then, you play around.’” Eva’s siblings lived into their 90s but did not meet her incredible age milestone. However, another significant person in her life is her husband, Nelson. He is 102 years old. ”He’s two years older than I am, so I have to keep up with him, you know.”
Success in Marriage
Eva and Nelson have been married for 80 years and have three children and many grandchildren. “I met him because he lived across the street in an apartment building. I could look out my window, and we could wave to each other. He was a really nice kid. We were married in 1943. We had been going together for a while. It didn’t take long.”
Eva’s marriage advice: “Be vocal. Be honest. I won’t lie to my husband. If I did it, I did it. Be honest, be truthful. When you go to bed at night, try not to go to bed angry with each other. I think it means something if you know you’re trying. Arguments might happen, but be honest with each other. It’s a lying world nowadays.”
Raising A Family
Eva and her husband raised a family who also inherited their work ethic. When asked about fond memories of growing her family, Eva said, “Telling them what’s right and wrong. They all learn fast. I have two children, and they all have children; I have lots of good grandchildren. I love being with children.”
Advice for the Youngsters
You don’t realize how lucky you are to be here in this world. Nobody goes without if they want it. Hard work never hurt anyone, and it does pay off. You have to earn what you get, and nothing comes free—no matter what it is, you don’t get it for nothing.
She also explained the importance of perseverance: “Don’t think that everything is so bad that you can’t straighten it out— you can. Have a little patience, and you can. Everything pays off in the long run. Don’t ever be sorry for what you do. You’re doing it for a reason; otherwise, you’re wasting time.”
Being naturally drawn to socializing, Eva makes everyone feel at home at Edgewood. “This is a wonderful place for people. I like it. There’s so much to do, and they have it all available. If people only used it, that’s the thing. I’m not gonna just sit back and look at it and watch it go by; that’s not me. I don’t believe it is anyone in our family.”
While Edgewood in Helena offers many activities, Eva’s favorite pastime is in the kitchen: “I like to cook and bake Hungarian Goulash, we call it ‘Paprikash’.” Eva proudly shared that she learned to cook from her mother, who was incredible in the kitchen.
When asked about a bucket list, Eva said she doesn’t have one. “I just do it when it comes up. I’ve always got something I can do. I never sit still. Gosh, if I had to spend my time looking at the walls, I’d go crazy. There’s so much. If people only realize what they’re missing when they don’t get around. All they have to do is walk out the door, and there’s an adventure. I’m always doing something. Some people just don’t.”
Longevity is a true gift, and Eva celebrates each day to the fullest. We asked her how old she felt, and she said, “In my 70s, and I don’t feel very old. I am not ready to go, and I have a lot to do.”
Happy Birthday, Eva!
Eva, we hope you had a VERY Happy 100th Birthday! We’re so lucky to learn your perspective on living to 100, and we’re so grateful to have you as part of our Helena Community.
If you’re interested in living in a vibrant community with activities to keep you feeling young, please contact us at info@Edgewoodhealthcare.com. Edgewood Healthcare and its partners strive to help residents feel their best by offering amenities on-site, from therapies to primary care.