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Living a Long and Happy Life: The Secret of 108-Year-Old Atty. Delfin Gonzalez

Living a Long and Happy Life: The Secret of 108-Year-Old Atty. Delfin Gonzalez

Everyone dreams of living a long and happy life. But, what does it take to achieve that goal?

Born just shortly after our country’s independence from Spain, Atty. Delfin Gonzalez Sr. is now 108 years old. He has lived through a lot of significant events, including the Commonwealth Era, the Japanese Occupation, and the two World Wars.

A proud father of 5 and a loving husband to his late wife, Aurea Carballo Gonzales, it’s clear that Atty. Delfin Gonzalez Sr. has already unlocked the secret to a fulfilled life.

In this interview with Hello Doctor, he shares his secrets to a long and happy life and other valuable life lessons

long and happy life

It’s clear that you love and adore your wife; do you think the happiness brought by your relationship with her contributes to your good health and a long and happy life?

Absolutely. My wife brings me peace of mind and peace at home. We’re at peace with each other, we love each other. It’s my wife who took care of me every day. That’s why I miss her very much. We’ve been happily married for 68 years.

Do you think genes have something to do with your long and happy life?

Absolutely. Every one of us inherits some characteristics from our parents and these characteristics are found in their genes.

My father died at 88 and my mother died when she was 96 years old. I wouldn’t be this old if I didn’t have the genes of my parents.

How do you stay mentally sharp? Are there “mind exercises” that you’d like to share to the younger generation?

I’ve been very studious since I was in grade school. Reading is one of my passions. That’s how you keep yourself well-informed. Nahahasa yung isip mo by reading.

And I really think that sleep is important. You see, when I have a problem and I cannot solve it during the day, I take it to bed with me when I sleep. And sometimes, I find the solution when I sleep.

But aside from reading and getting enough rest, Atty. Delfin Gonzalez also has one advice:

Think. Think. I use the expression “use your coconut.” When my children were small, I used to tell them to think before they decide on anything. Do not do things on spur of the moment.

Being a lawyer is usually stressful, what’s your best strategy in dealing with stress?

You know, when I was busy practicing law, after office hours, I went to my club and played tennis. And then I share drinks with my friends while we discuss current events. That’s the way you relieve yourself of stress – physically and mentally.

When asked when he believes if his way of dealing with stress is applicable to all, Atty. Gonzalez said:

Yes, of course. Don’t overwork. Overworking ruins your health. When you’ve had enough, stop. Rest. The body can only stand so much.

Do you have a “secret” in your diet and nutrition?

You know, I came from a poor family in Bulacan. So, our ordinary meal consists of vegetables, fish, a little meat, and fruits. That’s what my mother used to prepare for me when I was young.

When I got married, my wife took care of me. She supervised the foods I eat together with our cook.

On vitamins, Atty. Gonzalez shares:

Because my appetite is not what it used to be, the doctor has prescribed me vitamins to supplement my diet.

What’s your workout routine when you were younger?

I stayed physically active by engaging in sports. As a little boy, I used to play simple games like indoor baseball and handball with my friends. When I was in college I started playing tennis and also did a little boxing. In UP, I was also a member of the Varsity Gymnastics Team.

Now that he’s 108 years old….

Wala na akong exercise ngayon because I’m wheelchair-bound.

So, I used to have a walker to walk around the house, and when I go out to shop, I used a wheelchair.

As of now, how does your “typical day” look like?

Before, I worked 8 or 10 hours daily. Now, after working for 4 or 5 hours, I feel physically and mentally tired. That’s the limit now, I can only work for 4 to 5 hours.

long and happy life

If there’s only one piece of advice you’d leave the kids of today, what would it be? What do you think is the secret to a long, happy, and healthy life?

My advice to everyone is to follow the Golden Rule – Do to others what you would want others to do unto you.

And then if you can help your friends and neighbors, help them. That’s what I do.

I leave you with this quote by Shakespeare: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”

Learn more about Healthy Aging here.

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Jun 07
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel
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