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How Would Winston Churchill Fare on a Will I Live to 100 Quiz?

Category: Health and Wellness Issues

December 19, 2020 — A very popular retirement-age calculator now is Livingto100. Developed by Dr. Thomas Perls, it asks a raft of fairly predictable questions and then provides an estimate of how long you will live, along with tailored advice. The questions makes a lot of sense – if you are healthy and avoid most of the bad things (drinking, smoking, stress, obesity), and do the good things (exercise, have friends, brain activities, floss, wear sunscreen, etc.), and your parents lived to ripe old ages – you have a good shot at living to 100. Which leads us to the connection to Winston Churchill, who, despite legendary bad habits, lived to 90 years old. How did he do it, and what can we learn from his experience?

Winston Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) is one of the most fascinating characters in world history. Most famously, as Prime Minister he courageously led Britain through WWII’s darkest days to defeat Hitler, with the help of America. His inspirational speeches are some of the greatest ever made, they can still make grown people cry. Over the course of his lifetime Churchill wrote 43 book-length works in 72 volumes. Soldier, captured and escaped war correspondent, and politician (he was Prime Minister twice), he had endless talents, including as an accomplished painter.

On the other hand, it is hard to see him earning a very high score on the livingto100 Calculator. For one, genetics were not in his favor. His father, Lord Randolph, died at age 45, and his mother, Lady Jenny (an American) at 76. Then there were his legendary bad habits. Drinking started early in the day for him, which Richard Langworth’s Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality estimated to total about six glasses of champagne or wine daily along with 5 to 6 ounces of whisky or brandy, spread over a 12 to 15 hour period. No one ever recalls seeing him drunk, however. Did he smoke you might ask: as many as 10 cigars a day. On the plus side he insisted on a hot bath and a 2 hour nap every day. He often stayed up all night and slept late in the morning.

On the exercise front there is a great quote attributed to him:

I get my exercise being a pallbearer for those of my friends who believed in regular running and calisthenics.

Attributed to Winston Churchill

So how did Winston manage to live to age 90?

We are certainly not advocating all of his bad habits, particularly the drinking and smoking and lack of regular exercise. But to overcome those effects, he must have had some good things working for him, habits that we could emulate to overcome whatever health deficiencies we might have. One good thing helping Winston’s longevity was that he was happily married. He had many friends and a rich social life.

Perhaps most importantly, Winston Churchill had purpose in his life. Early on, he was driven to live up to his father’s legacy. As a war correspondent he wrote feverishly and entertainingly as a way to support his family. Later on as a politician he believed that only he could save his country, and he was probably right about that.

But even after he retired from public life in the 1950s he was driven. Art became a preoccupation, he would repaint the same scenes over and over again to try to get them just right. It was that sense of purpose at whatever he was doing, in our opinion, that helped him live such a long life, despite an accumulation of health issues such as stroke and heart ailments.

Want to live to 100?

Here’s what we speculate Winston would tell you – Find a purpose in your life and pursue it passionately!

Comments? What is your secret to living to a ripe old age? Have you found a purpose that will help get you there. Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Posted by Admin on December 18th, 2020

7 Comments »

  1. Great article! Churchill was a fascinating character and your perspectives on his longevity with his drinking and smoking is interesting and insightful. The idea of purpose as a key ingredient to longevity may be underrated as I think about your article. I want to read comments from people who have reached a ripe old age on this topic. I am looking for some ideas.

    by Jay Michael — December 18, 2020

  2. There is so much rich material on Churchill, including his own books. i loved his WWII series starting with “The Gathering Storm”. In the first season of The Crown on Netflix he is lovingly portrayed as he gently guides the young Queen Elizabeth. Many movies, including the recent and excellent “Darkest Hour”. For books, The Splendid and the Vile covers the early, hard years of WWII. Churchill: Walking with Destiny is a whopper, 1152 pages, but if you are a history or biography buff you will enjoy every page.
    We can’t all have a purpose like saving the world, but we can make it a better place in our little corner of it, and maybe live a long life to boot!

    by Rick — December 19, 2020

  3. I agree that having a purpose is critical to a long life. But my question is, what is enough purpose? Are enjoying a regular golf or tennis game, tending to the grandkids, practicing a hobby, staying in shape enough? Or are these fairly frivolous activities and not enough to keep one enthused and youthful. Any thoughts appreciated.

    by Jim — December 20, 2020

  4. Jim – ‘What is enough purpose?’ I believe it’s totally up to the individual. I’ve been lucky because I still love tennis, and through tennis I’ve made many friends and get an incredible amount of exercise. There’s my “youthfulness.” In addition, I’ve become nationally ranked and travel all over the country for tournaments which makes me feel successful, even more so than when I was working in corporate America. When I’m not working out or traveling for tournaments, I’m researching stock investments, consumer issues (like this blog) and consumer products, helping others with what I’ve learned, and reading great novels on my Kindle – something I didn’t have time for when I was working. I feel very “purposeful.” If I had any more purpose, I’m not sure I’d have enough time!

    by David — December 21, 2020

  5. Jim, I agree with David that the answer is very individual and also depends on how old is”old” to you. Many who are physically able may feel more years in old. Some with serious physical, illness or mental issues may not want to add years to their old. Some don’t care and feel the need to continue living despite any suffering. What drives you? That will help determine your purpose.

    by RichPB — December 21, 2020

  6. Good Morning. Yes; I live in the Colonies & still pay Homage to The Queen. Winston Churchill was a Great PM in his time. In his Time is the key phrase. Believe most to-day have Purpose & Passion in their Life.
    So the answering “Live to be 100” Quiz is a No Brainer!! It’s “Getting Thru The Pearly Gates!!” that counts. Know that is going to Take Purpose & Passion for me to get there!!
    Cheers!!
    b

    & Happy Holiday’s To All!!

    by BillyBogey — December 22, 2020

  7. I have always thought of Winston Churchill as the Thomas Jefferson of the British Empire.

    by Dr. Dean-Ross Schessler — December 22, 2020

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