Live one hundred percent: the secrets of longevity of the 101-year-old Russian-speaking immigrant from New York
On March 19, 2020, Lydia Gerinstein from New York turned 101. This amazing woman knows firsthand: life after a centennial anniversary not only exists, but can also be fulfilled and interesting. Lidia Rafailovna told ForumDaily about her joys, concerns and secrets of longevity.
Lydia has an active social life: for the past 8 years she has been attending the King David Center's Daytime Wellness Center for the elderly - a “kindergarten” by staff and visitors. Everyone here knows and loves Lydia Rafailovna. Thanks to her kindness, activity, willingness to help and support, she became the president of the local long-livers club for people over 90 years old.
Lydia’s equally rich and vibrant leisure: she likes to receive guests, the most desirable of which are her grandson and three great-grandchildren, she admires classical music, she is interested in stories about people and events. Together with her daughter, Lidia Rafailovna attends concerts at Carnegie Hall, each time demonstrating her sophisticated taste and sense of style in the selection of outfits. Lydia loves beauty in everything: in nature, in clothes, in poetry, in music. But the main thing is that she is interested in life and interesting in life. And life reciprocates Lydia. In this, according to the woman, this is the main secret of overcoming the centenary.
Lidia Rafailovna - a man of difficult fate, who survived many losses. But despite all the hardships, she radiates a positive and is able to energize and thirst for the life of everyone around her.
Lydia was born on March 19, 1919 in the city of Elisavetgrad (formerly Kirovograd, and now Kropyvnytsky, located in the central part of Ukraine) in the Gerinshtein family. Lydia's mom was a pediatrician, and dad a successful lawyer. While her parents worked, the girl was brought up by a nanny who had a noble origin and was very fond of music and literature. It was she who instilled in Lydia a love of beauty in all its manifestations.
Lydia dreamed of being a lawyer, but at the insistence of her father after school she entered the medical institute in Odessa. Although this was not the profession in which she saw herself, later Lydia fell in love with her and did not regret her choice.
In the spring of 1941, Lydia met her future husband, Yefim Leikekhman, with whom she went to undergraduate practice as part of a group of students. When the war broke out on June 22, 1941, Lydia's parents were evacuated to Kazan, and the girl herself and her friends decided to get to Stalingrad to get a diploma at a local medical institute. After that, they were able to find work in the city. In the summer of 1942, the front approached Stalingrad: Lydia's husband went to the front, and she had to evacuate - a young woman was expecting a baby.
She still recalls the horrified way to evacuate to Kazan: they started bombing an old boat with an oil barge tied to it. Then she thought: “Well then, if they get on the ship, I’m swimming well, maybe I’ll escape, and if I’m in the barge with oil, then everything is over.”
But it all ended happily: Lydia got to Kazan, where she got a job as a doctor at a military factory, gave birth to her daughter Natasha. After the war ended, the part where Lida’s husband Yefim was a medical doctor was relocated from Germany to the Gorokhovets camps. Lydia and Natasha went there. After her husband completed special courses in Moscow, the family moved to Tula, where his son Gleb was born.
In Tula, Lidia Rafailovna worked for many years as a doctor in the therapeutic department of the Semashko City Hospital, as well as the head of the reception department. To this day, she remembers many of her patients and their medical history, and they probably remember her - she put so much mind and heart into her work. Then Lydia taught therapy at the medical school, after which she retired.
In the nineties of the last century, life became harder. Lydia’s brother and his family decided to move to the USA, from where they soon sent a call for Lydia’s family. After a long red tape with paperwork in the family, a disaster happened: after an unsuccessful operation in December 1993, Yefim died. Permission to emigrate came only a month after his death. The terrible trials did not end there: in the car accident, her beloved son Gleb died, he still had a wife and two children.
Lidia Rafailovna gathered all her will into a fist and decided to emigrate with her family to the United States: on May 9, 1994, Lydia's brother met them at the New York airport, and in 1995 a daughter-in-law and grandchildren flew to the USA - they were all assembled. In a new country, Lydia quickly made friends, she loved life in New York with all her heart - and she still has this feeling with her.
Shortly before her 101st birthday, Lidia Rafailovna answered several questions for ForumDaily.
First, tell a little about your life. How are your weekdays, what do you do, how do you have fun? Let everyone who dreams of longevity find out that there really is life after 100 years, and it is interesting.
- I’m not as active as I was, for example, 2-3 years ago. Nevertheless, we are still gathering as a family, my daughter and I have a subscription to Carnegie Hall for classical music concerts (the last time I listened to Matsuev in the fall, and the next concert of the Japanese pianist should be in April). I watch my favorite TV shows, for example, “Neskuchny klassiki”. I have been going to my Kindergarten for 17 years already 3 times a week. And I'm not tired at all. You won’t believe it, but sometimes I dance there (they help me, of course), play dominoes, listen to music, songs, talk, walk (I try to walk more, but I get tired faster), I am treated. In general, have fun as I can.
You had a rather difficult life: war, loss of husband, emigration in adulthood. What helped you cope with all the difficulties and keep a positive attitude?
“I'm generally used to difficulties.” Life is not an easy thing and it must be accepted as it is. It is necessary to seek strength to overcome problems, not to sit back, but to act, not to lose the sense of humor and see the good things that life gives me: family, remaining friends, music ...
What do you consider the secret of your longevity? Perhaps you have some kind of recipe or advice for those who would like to live to be 100 years old.
- Activity, initiative, sense of humor and love of life. Try not to lose your interest in the new and move, move as you can. Movement is life!
And what would you rather not advise to do? From the height of the past years, you know better what we are wasting energy on, what is not worth it to spend on this time?
- Do not whine, do not complain. I myself do not like to complain and do not like to communicate with people who just talk about their illnesses. Do not be angry, do not be offended in vain, do not waste your precious time on empty gossip and idle discussions of people. And, very importantly, to be positive.
Would you like to set a record for longevity? Do you have a dream that you have not yet managed to fulfill?
I never thought about that.
Share your immigration experience with us. Have you moved to the USA already in adulthood? How did the adaptation go, how did you solve the language issue and so on?
- There were no depression. We were prepared for the problems and took them for granted. And our relatives and friends helped us a lot with advice and attention.
ForumDaily wishes Lydia Herinstein a happy birthday, wishes him good health and many years to come!
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