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Immovably fascinated by the world; it's properties, people, conditions, sensations, irony,
and all the amazing moments which, whether by enlightenment or scarring, bring about permanent change.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Jeanne Calment

(21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997)

Is the longest confirmed human life span in history,
living to the age of 122 years, 164 days (44724 days total).

She lived in Arles, France, for her entire life, and outlived both her daughter and grandson.

As a thirteen-year-old girl (1888) in her uncle's fabric shop,
she met Van Gogh. He wanted to buy some canvas,
later describing him as "dirty, badly dressed and disagreeable",
and "very ugly, ungracious, impolite, sick".
Calment recalled selling coloured pencils to Van Gogh.

And she saw the Eiffel Tower being built.

age 20, in 1895

In 1896, at the age of 21, she married a wealthy store owner.
His wealth made it possible for Jeanne to never have to work;
instead she led a leisured lifestyle,
pursuing hobbies like tennis, cycling, swimming, rollerskating, piano and opera.

She lived in Arles, France, for her entire life, and outlived both her daughter and grandson.

age 22, in 1897

Calment's remarkable health presaged her later record.
At age 85, she took up fencing,
and at 100, she was still riding a bicycle.
She was reportedly neither athletic, nor fanatical about her health.
Calment lived on her own until shortly before her 110th birthday,
when it was decided that she needed to be moved to a nursing home
after a cooking accident (she was having complications with sight)
started a small fire in her flat.
However, Calment was still in good shape,
and was able to walk until she fractured her femur during a fall at age 114 years
She smoked until the age of 117, only five years before her death.
Calment smoked from the age of 21 (1896),
though according to an unspecified source,
she smoked no more than two cigarettes per day.

age 40, in 1915

She ascribed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance for her age to olive oil,
which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed onto her skin,
as well as a diet of port wine, and ate nearly one kilo of chocolate every week.

(thanks wikipedia!)

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