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Fredrik Blomqvist, 100: “I still feel young”

Name: Fredrik Blomqvist.

Age: Born in 1914.

Profession: Engineer within the steel industry.

Best thing about getting older: I am myself at all times, I no longer care about what other people think of me. It saves a great deal of energy.

Worst thing about getting older: Since my wife passed away a little over five years ago, life has been lonely. Many of my friends are gone, and I haven’t found any new ones. I also have a visual impairment that makes it hard, for example, to play golf.

“When I turned one hundred years old last autumn, I gave an impromptu speech to my family. It summarised events from my life. I understood afterwards that many have a hard time grasping how much you can fit into a hundred years. When I was born, cars and telephones were rare in Stockholm, and there was no radio. Eventually we got a small radio with two headphones, which no more than eight people could listen to at a time. When we wanted to follow a match involving the boxer Harry Persson in the 1920s, my dad put the headphones in a crystal bowl so that the whole room could hear. That must have been one of the first speakers ever in Sweden.

I still feel young. I keep active in different ways, and I like to take the train to visit my children and grandchildren in Stockholm. Half of the year I live in Torekov, Skåne, where I take care of my house and garden, grow a lot of different plants and make juices and jams. I used to play a lot of golf in Skåne and, as a 75-year-old, I won the regional championships twice.

I don’t know why I got so old. My mother made it to 89, so I guess it’s partly hereditary. I think it's important that I have always slept well and played a lot of sports. But when I was younger, I didn’t lead a very healthy life – I smoked a lot and partied quite a bit. I quit smoking in 1960. These days I take a walk every day and exercise in the gym in the cellar of my building.

I live on the third floor with no lift, so I walk up and down the stairs several times a day, for example when I’m going to the laundry room. I always eat well – food that I cook myself with good ingredients, and nothing ready-made. I lead a pretty good life, but right now I’m longing for spring and Torekov.”

As told to Fredrik Hedlund. First published in the magazine Medical Science 2015.