April 15, 2011

The Simple Life Of World's Oldest Man: RIP Walter Breuning

“We're all going to die. Some people are scared of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you're born to die."  - Walter Breuning

Walter Breuning, shown above on his last birthday, attributed his extended years to "cigarettes, whiskey and wild, wild women - and a good sense of humor". Obviously a character, I am glad he had the opportunity to share some of the wisdom gained over the past 114 years before he passed on.

Mr. Breuning spoke to 100 attendees at his birthday party, and advocated a message of tolerance, saying "With all the hatred in this world, in this good world, let us be kind to one another." He also spoke about the importance of embracing change, especially the ultimate change, death.

Breuning wisely advised us to not be afraid of death. Easy to say when you are young and feeling immortal, but quite brave when you never know when today might be your last day on this good earth.

This long distance runner on the track of life was born on 21 September 1896, in Minnesota. His family had no electricity or running water for the first 10 years of his life. When he was 18 he moved to Montana and worked for the railway for the next 50 years. His wife died in 1957 and he never remarried. He retired in 1963, and lived in a tiny studio room in a retirement community since 1980.

The world's oldest man attributed his longevity to eating modestly, and keeping active (in addition to cigarettes, whiskey, wild women, and humour).  "If you keep your mind and your body active you will be around for a long time," he said.

RIP Walter Bruening. Thanks for the advice.

"Once you accept your own death, all of a sudden you're free to live. You no longer care about your reputation. You no longer care except so far as your life can be used tactically to promote a cause you believe in."
- Saul Alinsky 

"I think we should look forward to death more than we do. Of course everybody hates to go to bed or miss anything, but dying is really the only chance we'll get to rest."

- Florynce Kennedy

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