GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Walter Breuning’s earliest memories stretched back 111 years, before home entertainment came with a twist of the radio dial. They were of his grandfather’s tales of killing Southerners in the Civil War. Breuning was 3 and horrified: “I thought that was a hell of a thing to say.”
But the stories stuck, becoming the first building blocks into what would develop into a deceptively simple philosophy that Breuning, the world’s oldest man at 114 before he died Thursday, credited to his longevity.
Here’s the world’s oldest man’s secret to a long life:
• Embrace change, even when the change slaps you in the face. (“Every change is good.”)
• Eat two meals a day (“That’s all you need.”)
• Work as long as you can (“That money’s going to come in handy.”)
• Help others (“The more you do for others, the better shape you’re in.”)
Then there’s the hardest part. It’s a lesson Breuning said he learned from his grandfather: Accept death.
“We’re going to die. Some people are scared of dying. Never be afraid to die. Because you’re born to die,” he said.