‘Pay attention,’ 100-year-old Buddy Hamilton advises


By Ann Lovell

Want to know the secrets to a long life? Buddy Hamilton has some advice.

Hamilton, who celebrated his 100th birthday May 3, is a resident of LifeSpire of Virginia’s Lakewood community in Richmond. Still very active in his church and community, Hamilton says the secret to his long life is finding balance among nutrition, lifestyle and spiritual vitality.

“A person can commit suicide by their diet,” Hamilton says. “I read a lot about nutrition. I eat a lot of plant food. I don’t eat much white bread or white carbs. I limit sweets, and I have a glass of wine several times a week.”

He has also learned to separate his day into “compartments of time” that allow him the right amounts of sleep, exercise and prayer. Finding the proper balance between the right kinds of foods and the right amounts of sleep allow him the greatest possible benefit. Hamilton says a regular, daily prayer time is also very important to him.

“I have a system of prayer that allows me to pray for many different groups of people and offer petitions on their behalf,” Hamilton says. “I spend about an hour every night in prayer, and I pray for different people on different days of the week. On Mondays, I pray for close friends, and I try to remember as many names as I can. On Wednesdays, I pray for all of the groups at First Baptist Church, Richmond, not always by name but by groups. On Fridays, I pray for each member of my family by name. On Saturdays, I pray for myself, being careful to give my thoughts and words to God.”

Hamilton’s “compartments of time” in his day also extend to seasons of life. Quoting Joel 2:28 from the Old Testament, Hamilton recites, “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.”

“As a young man, I was devoted to vision and planning,” Hamilton explains. “Now, I enjoy dreaming about my wife of 64 years (Edith, who died in 2004), and about those who went before.

It’s good for young people to spend time visualizing and planning the future,” Hamilton says. “They will have plenty of time to dream about the past later.”

But his most important piece of advice ties it all together.

“Listen to what God knows to be best,” Hamilton says, noting following “God’s best” brings the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of life into harmony.

“At least, that’s what I’ve found to be the case for me,” Hamilton says. “But it’s an individual endeavor. Every person must decide for himself.”

Ann Lovell is Corporate Director of Communication for LifeSpire of Virginia, formerly Virginia Baptist Homes. For more information, email alovell@lifespireliving.org or call (804) 521-9192.

LifeSpire of Virginia operates four continuing care retirement communities in Virginia: The Chesapeake in Newport News, The Culpeper in Culpeper, The Glebe in Daleville and Lakewood in Richmond.