Sammy Nickalls
July 06, 2015 2:59 pm

Today may be the Monday after a holiday, but it’s actually a very, very special day. Why? Because it’s the birthday of the world’s oldest woman. That’s right: centenarian Susannah Mushatt Jones was born 116 years ago today on July 6th, 1899. She celebrated privately, but there’s a public celebration planned tomorrow, according to NBC New York.

New Yorker Susannah Mushatt Jones may be 116, but she is totally ROCKIN’ this thing we call life. And as of this year, she’s the oldest women in the world.

Susannah, who’s known as “T” (short for “auntie”) to her 100 nieces and nephews, currently lives in New York City and has been since the 1920s, but she was originally born and raised in Alabama, according to the Huffington Post. The third of 11 children, she moved to NYC in 1923 to work as a child caregiver for wealthy families in the city. For 45 years, she cooked, managed households, and cared for children who were not her own.

“Her belief would be to live an unselfish life, to support others, to be thoughtful and kind,” niece Lois Judge, pictured with Susannah below, told

The centenarian lived through various historic events. “I remember when I met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,” she said in a press release. “It was during his book signing tour at the Blumstein’s store.”

Though she has no kids of her own, Susannah is still quite close with some of her many nieces and nephews (in fact, niece Lavilla Mushatt Watson even wrote a book entitled “Susannah, Our Incredible 114-Year-Old Aunt” back in 2014). She has lost her eyesight and has difficulties hearing. She’s assisted by 24-hour home health aides, but other than that, she lives on her own—and she lives life awesomely, by taking plenty of naps, eating a super hearty breakfast with plenty of bacon, and wearing cool lingerie, because hey, why not?

“She would save her money and then go to Bloomingdale’s,'” her niece, Selbra Mushatt, explained to TIME last year. “One time, when she had to get an EKG, the doctors and nurses were surprised to see her wearing that lingerie, and she said, ‘Oh sure, you can never get too old to wear fancy stuff.'” OK, so Susannah’s the coolest ever, got it.

More advice that she had for living a long and prosperous life? “I never drink or smoke,” she said in the press release. “I surround myself with love and positive energy. That’s the key to long life and happiness.”

Sounds like some super solid advice, IMHO. A very happy birthday to you, Susannah, and we can’t wait to hear all about your super special celebration tomorrow!

(Image via Guinness Book of World Records)


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