Living a fulfilling life involves being grateful for what you have, living according to your values and avoiding what compromises them, setting realistic goals and adapting to change, having loving and supportive relationships, and fully acting out what is within your soul.

Today I am sharing with you Gladys McGarey’s perspective on living a long and fulfilling life.

Gladys McGarey is a 102-year-old doctor with a passion for what she refers to as “living medicine.”

She encourages her patients to look “at disease and pain as teachers” to understand what illnesses are showing them about their bodies and find the best ways to heal.

McGarey is also the author of “The Well-Lived Life: A 102-Year-Old Doctor’s Six Secrets to Health and Happiness at Every Age.”

“My decades of experience in holistic medicine has taught me a lot about how to live a long, happy and purposeful life.”

Some practices that McGarey incorporates in her daily routine are:

Getting 9 hours of sleep a night
Spending time with loved ones and building community
Continuing to live in her purpose beyond the age of 100
Walking 3,800 steps each day
Avoiding smoking or drinking alcohol

In addition to her daily practices, McGarey also has a set of principles that contribute to her longevity and her happiness. She refers to them as the five L’s.

“You [have to] feel and know life is there to be lived. You have to live it,” she says.

The five L’s that McGarey follows for a long and happy life are:

  1. Life itself: “As you pay attention to life itself, life is like a seed. It has a shell around it. It has all the energy of the universe within it,” says McGarey. But life can’t change for the better without being activated by us first.
  2. Love: “Love is the activating factor. It cracks the shell,” she says. “It’s the whole aspect of life as we come into it and take our first breath.” Love feeds into the remaining aspects of what makes life meaningful.
  3. Laughter: “Laughter without love is cruel. It’s mean [and] cold,” McGarey says. “But laughter with love is joy and happiness.”
  4. Labor: “Labor without love is drudgery. ‘I gotta go to work’ or ‘They’re too many diapers,'” she says. “Labor with love is bliss. It’s why a singer sings, why a painter paints, why I became a doctor. It’s what juices you up. It’s what makes you really know: ‘This is who the inner core of me is.'” Pay attention to what drives you, she adds.
  5. Listening: “Listening without love is empty sound,” says McGarey. “But listening with love is understanding.” When you’re able to find people who understand you and what your purpose is, life becomes more fulfilling, and you can go on to do the same for others.

But life isn’t always easy, McGarey points out.

When you’re faced with tough times: “Just don’t get stuck.

Or if you do [get stuck], start looking for the light. It’s always there,” she adds.

“You just have to keep looking for it.”