Thriving with Each Passing Year

PLUS! 5 Ways Centenarians Make Great Role Models

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Ageless Goddesses Goddesses Never Age

Goddesses Never Age is about agelessness, or ageless living, which is what you experience when you engage in life without fear that you’re going to fall or fall apart. That’s what centenarians do. As a culture, we are long overdue for a paradigm shift in what we believe about growing older. If you want to learn to thrive with each passing year, all you need to do is look to the centenarians to be your role models.

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Centenarians—those 100 or older—are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Currently, there are about 53,000 centenarians in the U.S. and, because this group is increasing at the rate of 75,000 people per year, there will be 600,000 centenarians by 2050. You read that right: Ten times as many Americans will be over 100 years old two generations from now.

Research of Dr. Mario Martinez—a study of 700 healthy centenarians from all over the world—reveals that centenarians share similar characteristics:

  1. They are rebels who don’t go along with the beliefs of their cultures. They create their own culture.
  2. They don’t go to doctors. Many of their doctors are dead, and they tend not to align with traditional Western medicine.
  3. They indulge in pleasurable rituals daily, like one cigar, a small scotch, or a brownie. The key is it’s a ritual—think tea ceremony not a mindless binge.
  4. They live in the present and look forward to the future. They have events and new challenges to look forward to.
  5. They do not identify with their peer groups or identify with age—they don’t like being around what they call old people, many of whom are younger than they are.
  6. They live in subcultures that support maximizing their ability to live agelessly.

That’s simply one piece of a global story about people living longer. If you want longevity, I’m sure you don’t also want to spend the last years of your life in poor health, thinking about how “old” you are. You can change your future starting today by adopting a new, ageless attitude.

5 Ways to Adopt an Ageless Attitude

To start acting like a healthy centenarian, act on these five things:

  1. Don’t use your age as a “cage.” Stop saying things like “at my age” or “I’m too old for that.”
  2. Avoid “organ recitals.” This is when you catalog your aches and pains, and discuss all your health issues and diseases. Nothing is more boring!!! Plus what you pay attention to expands. Why not focus on what is working?
  3. Decide to defy what you’ve been taught about aging. How you grow older has a lot to do with your beliefs.
  4. Choose a couple of mentors for healthy aging. Look for individuals to hang out with who make it easy to be happy and healthy.
  5. Create goals and dreams that pull you forward. This may be the most important of all. Create a life you love, and keep living it, regardless of the number on your driver’s license.

Remember: Gerontology is simply the study of the “pathology” of aging. You don’t have to have any pathology, because healthy aging doesn’t mean deterioration. Also, it’s a real loss if you come to the end of your life never having developed an inner sense of self, not to mention all the gifts of wit and wisdom that come with the years. Thriving with each passing year is truly an option for all of us.

You Get to Decide What Makes You Feel Ageless and How You Want to Express Yourself. — Dr. Christiane Northrup #agelessgoddess #inspiration #quote

What are YOU doing to live like a centenarian? I know many of my community members have an experience worth sharing. So please leave a comment. If you liked this video please share it!

Last Updated: February 18, 2015

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


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  1. self help
    9 years ago

    I plan on going to Sedona as part of my spiritual journey.

  2. Candace Greenley
    9 years ago

    How can I get a copy of the PBS special?

  3. C Anderson
    9 years ago

    I am 55 years old, work out everyday and recently completed another masters program and hope to start a new career soon. I cannot relate to the retirement mentality any time soon in my future but look forward to changes that lie ahead. Thank you for your inspiring work.

  4. Bev Wollaston
    9 years ago

    Thank you for your enlightening info. I teach yoga with an attitude like yours re aging. And you have clarified a few very good ideas!

  5. Sherrie Pasarell
    9 years ago

    March 9, 2015
    Dear Christiane ( following that healthy aging advice- tidbit: Rebelling by saying”:Christiane” instead of “Dr Northrup” !! )

    Your show that aired this weekend om PBS— wow.
    What you speak of resonates with me 100%, actually speaks to my best “gut instincts”– not, as you know, an easy of familiar dialogue in this culture.

    Particularly resonant is the need to reject that unnecessarily morbid and destructive culture so apparently hell-bent on self-fulfilling prophesy that says,e.g., gotta stoop over, walk slowly, ACT like you’re AGING !

    One family member in particular is wed to that philosophy- there’s no discussion with her. (Of course your mother won’t move more or talk about new things; She’s O L D !”)

    Thanks for confirming lifesaving information.

  6. Cynthia
    9 years ago

    Moving through space and making friends with gravity is the ticket! The Feldenkrais Method goes a long way to supporting us all in this.

  7. Mia
    9 years ago

    August of last year they told me I was sixty. I don’t believe a word of it.

  8. terrie
    9 years ago

    Was channel surfing today and seen you talking on pbs. What a wake up call. Heard what I needed to hear when I needed it the most! What an inspiration! Thank you

  9. Diane
    9 years ago

    Watching you just makes me happy! I love the wisdom of this and have to say that I have listened to your “Joy” CD whenever I need a pick-me-up. You, Dr. Northrup are a joy–Thank You!

  10. Granny
    9 years ago

    Love all of your work and fun ideas! Keep Dancing! …I am getting ready to learn to sing! 72 happy years on the planet
    Love…Granny in NOLA!

  11. June L Dixon
    9 years ago

    This year I’ll turn sixty. I’d rather tell my age than my weight. Sometimes a friend will mourn turning thirty or forty. I tell her that being forty is great when we are in good health. So is a sixtieth birthday. I work on a produce farm (plenty of manual labor) and I want all the birthdays that I can get. I loved your show on PBS. Thank you.

  12. jean
    9 years ago

    I stumbled upon your public television presentation while on vacation in VT, a week after completing radiation for thyroid cancer. I had adopted “organ recital” due to all to complications of taking drugs to counteract the side effects of radiation. I was a medical mess with a gloomy outlook. “I’m 59 and on the decline.” No! I have so much to live for, so many who need my wisdom, places to go and things to do. I have exercised but need to cultivate a more positive thought garden. Thank you for your inspiration.

    1. Sherrie Pasarell
      9 years ago

      Thanks to Jean for bringing that lovely imge to my awareness: “thought garden”. !
      and of course , major thanks for Christiane for the healthy-thinking wisdom ~~~

  13. Susan
    9 years ago

    I am a gerontologist by training and so excited to see your show today! Keep up the great work. Attitude is everything!

  14. Joyce
    9 years ago

    I am in my early 50’s and work with lots of successful beautiful women who are afraid to age and beginning to talk about the future as if it’s something to fear!! Looking for procedures to look young– thx for writing this book and building the self esteem of women back !!

  15. Rita
    9 years ago

    I was depressed as my upcoming 70th birthday is coming up in a few days until I found your site. Even though I look like 50, am quite accomplished, having 11 gorgeous children, over 40 grandchildren, am about to become a great grandmother, embarking on my second career as a hypnotist, and trying to enjoy living alone as I’m going through a divorce from my second husband (was a widow for 18 yrs) and really do everything to enjoy life living in lala land a good part of the time, the number 70 terrifyed me. Your inspiration will carry me through this difficult mindset and help me realize that age is truly only a number! I am so happy I found you!
    Sexy grandmother

  16. Jenny
    9 years ago

    I love this. My family have always been youthful. I remember my grandmother at 86 saying she still felt 16 inside and I believed her. My oldest cousin had a baby in her 50’s and looks 25. If you keep joy and gratitude alive you can be young at any age. So I’ll feel good about that chocolate croissant I indulge in after I hike to the grocery store because it makes me feel abundant, but I think I’ll skip the cigar. ( :

  17. Penny
    9 years ago

    Thanks Dr Northrup. I ordered your book “Goddesses Never Age” and am really looking forward to reading it and being inspired !!!

  18. Christiane Northrup
    9 years ago

    I love the “only” 74!!! My tribe is gathering. I LOVE THIS!!

  19. christine
    9 years ago

    Love this and at 60 years young…agree!!!!
    Thank you for this!!

  20. Cathy
    9 years ago

    Thank you for this message. As a physical therapist I’ve seen exactly what you describe in my patients daily. Mental attitude determines our aging; I have patients in their 60s who act and have the health of 90 year olds. On the other hand I’ve had the opportunity to work with some amazing centenarians who are full of vim and vigor, living happy lives. I am so grateful to have met these people as they have challenged my conceptions of aging.

  21. Mary Vallely
    9 years ago

    What a great confirmation of what I am doing: think young, drink lots of water, have happy thoughts of what I will do in retirement, if I retire, I love what I do, avoid doctors and their pills, and enjoy every day…… The beauty in every season, the sunshine, the people I meet the fun I have planned for the day that moment

  22. Deborah
    9 years ago

    After 35 years working as an RN in hospital setting, I recently went back to school and got my Esthetics and Massage Therapy Licenses. i am also a Reiki Energy Healer. Some of my co-workers are looking to retire. Not me! Full speed ahead into a new part of my life!

    1. Christiane Northrup
      9 years ago

      You have GOT IT!!!!

  23. Marilyn Clulow
    9 years ago

    I will be 80 in a few months and I started celebrating by giving myself a wonderful gift every month. I am slim, fit, walk briskly run up and down stairs without holding on to handrails, take no medications, vegetarian , juice daily and take vitamin supplements. When I was in my thirties a friend of my father showed me that old age , he was in his mid seventies, did not mean decrepit, he walked briskly everywhere, was slim and fit. I took note and realized that to achieve that one had to develop an attitude and consciously look after one’s health at every level. I drink half my body weight in ounces of water daily and I have no lines or wrinkles. I preach to all who would listen about the importance of total hydration in health maintenance and disease prevention. I am a registered nurse but I stay away from doctors and take total responsibility for my own health and happiness. Doctors are good for broken bones, I broke my ankle a few years ago , refused surgery, wore a cast for 8 weeks, after physio I was told I would have to wear orthopaedic shoes for the rest of my life and I would never be able to wear high heels again . Six months later I walked into the physio’s office in stilettos, have never even had a twinge in that joint since, no arthritis anywhere. I am an art quilter have a show coming up and intend to live to be at least 150 to get through my fabric stash and continue to create. Life is good.

    1. Kathryn Wells
      9 years ago

      I love your story, Marilyn! I’m getting up now to refill my drinking water on my desk!!!

    2. Margie
      9 years ago

      You are such an inspiration! Thank you!

      1. Christiane Northrup
        9 years ago

        I am LOVING the stilettos walking into the doc’s office!!! You ARE IT, baby!!!

    3. Carmen
      9 years ago

      being a vegetarian since the late 60’s has helped me. However, since eating healthy most hours of day/days of week and regular detox for almost 20 years. I feel better now at 51 than I did in my 20’s. Of course, forgiveness is huge.

      No wrinkles (yet). As for the gray hair coming in… I earned my stripes!

      I so adore you Dr. Northrup! Thank you for all you do!

    4. Carmen
      9 years ago

      I’m gonna be like you when I grow up! Thank you for sharing.


    5. Lily
      9 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your story Marilyn. I am a young 65 and most of my closest friends are 10 years younger than I am. They say I inspire them, and now you’ve inspired me!

    6. valerie
      9 years ago

      thank you so much for sharing your story…people like you are an inspiration to those of us that struggle to be able to move beyond our blocks

    7. Penny
      9 years ago

      Thankyou Marilyn for sharing your story. Im 53 and feeling very old and achey Although I do look after my self with my diet, drink heaps of water etc I dont excersise . Im currently looking after my dear 80yr old Dad whi is very ill. I realize that he did not look after himself.
      I have oredered Christines book” Goddesses Never Age” and am very inspired by uour story
      !! So thank you .love from Penny xxxx

  24. nancy gutierrez
    9 years ago

    Dear Dr. Northup: This is what I share: It´s about loneliness or feeling lonely. There is nothing wrong with living by yourself, being alone help you to get to know you better, of what you are capable of, it has nothing to do with being happy or sad. God made to live in couples but you can live a wonderful and fulfilling life by yourself. But if you have problems with being by yourself you have to check what is bothering you, may be unconciusly. Nancy Gutierrez Pharmacist and Lawyer, from Maracaibo, Venezuela.

    1. Christiane Northrup
      9 years ago

      You are SO RIGHT about this. I was just thinking about this. One of the keys to being AGELESS is absolutely LOVING your own SELF enough to enjoy your own company thoroughly!!! This has been a huge life lesson for me. And I now have a PhD. And have given myself an A+ grade. I LOVE MY LIFE. ( okay–it took me a while. But it has been WORTH every moment of heartbreak and sadness. Every single moment.)

  25. Aileen Deaton
    9 years ago

    I thrill at your message — it is in alignment with the foundation of my life and my beliefs. I am ONLY 74, and am approaching the most thrilling, inspired and joyful time of my life, having “retired” eighteen months ago, I am now free to study, learn, practice tai chi three days a week, and am now preparing to write my first book of the joys of aging with vigor, beauty, vitality, and radiant great health.

    I read your description of centenarians, and I fit every single description. How wonderful!

    A friend told me about you and your message a few weeks ago. It is so good to know you are out there.

    Thank you,


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