68K People Send ‘Happy Birthday’ Messages To Man Turning 104 After His Son Decided It’d Be A “Fun And Different” Gift
One hundred years of life. 36525 days, some full of challenges, and others – wonder. Not many get to live that long, seeing the number as an unlikely possibility. But when someone does, it is an occasion like no other. Especially when they’re over 100, continuing to happily circle around the sun year after year.
One such Centenarian, named Gerald, turned 104 on July 12th, and his son Kevin Mills decided to organize a fabulous gift for him. A gift which would exceed all of his expectations, all thanks to the wondrous world of the internet.
Before we dive into the details, dear Panda, I’d like you to tell me in the comments whether you’d want to live long enough to see 100 and what you’d do to celebrate! I can’t wait to read your responses – now let’s dive into the story!
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Gerald Mills celebrated his 104th birthday on July 12, and his son Kevin decided to organize an original gift to celebrate
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Gerald has had the privilege of living long enough to say he’s been orbiting the sun for over a century. 103 years to be exact, and he’ll be completing yet another rotation in July 2022. To celebrate his father’s incredible life, son Kevin decided to turn to the internet to organize something quite special.
On Twitter, he shared an image of his father and stated: “This is my dad, Gerald. He turns 104 on 12 July. Any chance I can muster 104 happy birthdays from Twitter? He’ll be amazed and baffled in equal measure.”
The simple request quickly grew into something Kevin couldn’t have imagined, with tens of thousands of people sending him their best wishes and love. At the present moment, the number of comments sits at 68K.
He asked people to send him ‘Happy Birthday’ messages in a Twitter post, hoping he’d get 104 – one for each year of his father’s life – but the response has been enormous
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Many of these people shared pictures of their loved ones, whether grandparents, children or pets. Some remembered those who have passed away, wondering how the elders would’ve gotten along. Some hoped that their loved ones would live as long or longer. Some even joked that their grandmas could take Gerald out for a date.
Kevin told Newsweek that he expected maybe ten replies. Yet, the once simple Tweet has grown into something incredible, even reaching radio stations. “Happy Birthday Gerald from 94.5 KHI in Ocean City, MD,” read a tweet, before linking a video of the host talking about it on the radio.
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Rather than 104, they received over 68K comments from people sending their love to Gerald, as well as pictures of their loved ones
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“Dad’s at an age where there’s nothing he wants or needs that can be bought with money,” he explained. “So I thought something like a bunch of congratulatory messages from a few random strangers would be a bit fun and different.”
He’d planned to take the 10 or 20 tweets and print them out on A4 pages. “Of course, that idea soon became impractical. People were wishing dad a happy birthday in their hundreds, their thousands and their tens of thousands. With simple greetings, funny comments, and messages saying how good he looked for his age.”
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Some remembered those who have passed, wondering how the elders would’ve gotten along. Others joked that their grandmas could take Gerald out for a date
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One person tweeted a timeline of events which Gerald had lived through. “Born just under 4 months before the end of WWI, 6 years prior, the Titanic sank. 21 when WWII started, 26 when WWII ended. 42 when The Beatles were founded, 51 during the first moon landing, 52 when The Beatles broke up. 59 when the first Star Wars came out.”
Kevin told his father’s life story to Newsweek. Gerald Mills spent most of his life in Bournemouth, England. He served with an anti-tank regiment in Italy and North Africa. In his retirement, he taught art at village halls after spending some time after the war as a technical illustrator for local aircraft companies.
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“Dad’s at an age where there’s nothing he wants or needs that can be bought with money,” Kevin explained, thus he went with something more fun and different
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So what has been his secret? A rigorous diet of fruit and vegetables, constant exercise, no alcohol, multiple games of chess per day? That’s gotta be it right? Well, no! “He puts it down to a number of factors: retaining his independence, having a close and supportive family, a positive outlook and an unfailing sense of humor. He tries to see the funny side of most things, enjoys a joke and is still not too old to be politely flirtatious,” Kevin said.
Although there are obvious benefits to eating well and exercising, it’s not the only way to maintain a life which can go on for decades. According to Dr. Angel Iscovich, a former emergency medicine physician, the secret to living to 100 is to maintain your daily routine, even the unhealthy ones. This includes something as simple as eating dessert every night or junk food for a snack.
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So what has been his secret? A rigorous diet of fruit and vegetables, constant exercise, no alcohol, multiple games of chess per day? Well, no!
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He suggests that sticking to a routine and riding those cycles is the key to finding purpose, meaning, joy, and even longevity. Harvard Health Publishing states that being inspired in life doesn’t just help emotional well-being, but it may keep you healthier.
A 2019 JAMA Network Open study found that among a group of nearly 7,000 adults over age 50, those who scored highest on a scale that measured ‘life purpose’ were less likely to die during the four-year study period. They were also less likely to die during the same period from heart, circulatory, or blood conditions, as compared to those who scored lower.
Time to find some purpose in life, it seems! But a decent diet and sleep schedule probably wouldn’t hurt either…
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Retaining his independence, having a close and supportive family, a positive outlook and an unfailing sense of humor have been keeping Gerald young
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Gerald will be celebrating his birthday on the actual day with a visit from his other son with “cards, cake, a little wine and a lot of laughter,” Kevin said.
“My father’s reaction has been one of astonishment and gratitude. He told me this in an email because I haven’t been able to see him in person thanks to me testing positive for COVID. When I get the chance, I can’t wait to show him some of some of the tweets to give him a sense of the scale of the global reaction.”
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We wish him a wonderful birthday and many more years to come! He’s certainly got enough birthday wishes to last at least 100 more
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We wish Gerald a wonderful birthday and hope he has many more!
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to leave your answers to the question – how would you celebrate 100 years of life?
I wish you all a splendid day!