Attitude makes a difference

Published 9:31 am Saturday, February 12, 2011

What a life.

In Friday’s Tidewater News, we featured a story on former Franklin resident LaVerne Pickles, who died on Tuesday at the ripe old age of 105.

Doug Boyce, the recently retired president of Paul D. Camp Community College, was Pickles’ stepson. Boyce attributed his stepfather’s long life to healthy eating, exercising, good genes and a good attitude.

It was the latter that seemed to have left the greatest impression on Boyce, whose mother, the late Edna Boyce, was married to Pickles for 12 years.

Sure, Pickles did some amazing things for his age while living in Franklin from 2003 to 2008. Like, at 102, he still took low-impact aerobics twice a week at the James L. Camp Jr. YMCA, and ran errands as he drove his Oldsmobile around town.

But it was his attitude that seemed to give him such longevity.

The University of Georgia in Athens recently determined through research on 100-year-olds that finding how one feels about himself and the ability to adapt to challenging life experiences may be an important factor to a long life.

The research, published in the “Gerontology and Geriatrics Research,” used data collected as part of the Georgia Centenarian Study to measure psychological and social factors in addition to genetics and health. Some 240 people age 100 or older were studied between 2001 and 2009. The research found that critical life events and personal history, along with how people adapt to stressful situations and cope with them, are crucial to explaining successful aging.

Boyce said his stepfather was a guy whose glass was always half full and he found the best in everyone.

So, if you want to live long, and need an attitude adjustment, now may be the time.