In the life of a centenarian: Insight into longevity 


    Nadya Mihalkova, Language School “Academic Lyudmil Stoyanov”, 11th Grade, Blagoevgrad


    What is the secret to longevity? Elena Delvinska is ready to give us an answer to this question on the eve of her 101-st birthday. The century-old-woman was born in 1921 and is currently an inhabitant of Porominovo, a village in Kyustendil Province. The thing that differentiates her from many other centenarians is the fact that she continues to lead the same active lifestyle as she did in her youth.


    Elena’s life was not particularly easy. She was left an orphan at the age of seven, and had to work in the tobacco fields. After her retirement, she focuses mainly on her vegetable garden, where she produces everything from tomatoes to potatoes on her own. Currently, she lives alone but that is not a problem. The centenarian is able to walk without a cane and does not need glasses to see. She goes to church regularly and everyone describes her as a lively woman.


    To celebrate her birthday the villagers of Porominovo have decided to throw her a party, in which her 4 children, 9 grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren would also be partaking.


    When asked what the secret behind her long life was, she decided to give advice: “Don’t ask me about longevity because it would take me too long to tell you the truth. You know, I became an orphan at 7 years old and had no brothers or sisters. This is why my advice to young people would be to have more children, so their kids would never be alone.”


    After a brief conversation with one of her daughters, we learn about Elena’s habits and routine, which have never changed throughout the years. The centenarian always works until late in her wonderful garden and leads a healthy lifestyle. She usually eats dinner at around 4 pm. When asked whether she felt hungry in the evening, her answer was no. This shows us that consistency in one’s life, physical activity and healthy eating habits are all parts of the recipe for a long life.


    Of course, there is also a spiritual and mental aspect to longevity. “Elena is a very nice and humble person. Her kindness, humility and the fact that she is never angry can set an example for everyone. She always has a smile on her face and I have never seen her frowning. She believes in God and says that every time she had had a problem, the Lord had always sent someone in her life who had helped her“, shares a neighbour of Elena.


    Overall, one can say that the secret behind living a century is the balance between a healthy body and a healthy mind. Kindness, hard work and honesty are the most meaningful virtues. From Elena, one can also learn a lot about the power of positivity and the importance of trust and hope. One should have belief; if not in God, then in the universe or in oneself. After all, being a centenarian is only worth it, when one can look back at life with pride and content.


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