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Melissa Locker
May 1, 2017

Ruth Hessey just turned 100 and sat down with the Tennessean to share some of the wisdom she has gathered over the century she has spent on the planet. She has seen a lot in her lifetime, including the invention of Band-Aids, television, and Kool-Aid. She says the greatest inventions of her lifetime are “Electrical home appliances, iron, stove, heating and cooling, telephone, and now electronics.”

Hessey, who majored in physical education, credits her longevity on “good genes and staying active and involved.” Hessey’s long life also shows that a lifetime love of bacon and eggs isn’t necessarily detrimental to your health (although she eats more raisin bran cereal these days).

As for what she wishes she had done differently, she wishes she had taken a trip to Alaska with her husband and been a little braver at a Mother's Day program 82 years ago. “Students introduced their mothers but I was timid and did not stand and introduce my mother. I am crying now just thinking about it after all these years," she said.

She also wishes she had worked a little harder when she was in college. “I would get myself better prepared. I didn't really apply myself,” she said, adding, “I can't say I would try to keep up more with my friends, because I do that already.”

“Exercise is a big thing for me,” she told the Tennessean, and it was big part of her family life, too. She was married to a coach and a parent to an athlete and spent a lot of time on sports fields. She tries to stay active now, too, walking every day for at least 20 minutes. “I told my grandson I wanted a Fitbit so I could measure my steps,” she said.

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That’s not the only plan for her birthday, either. For the last 20 years, Hessey’s neighbors have thrown her a birthday party, after promising that they would throw her one each year until she turned 100. Here’s hoping they’ll continue the tradition when Hessey hits 101. Read more of her helpful advice at The Tennessean.