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The Joy of Aging

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All four brothers are mentally sharp, physically active, pillars of their communities, and the centers of their extensive families. Nguyen Ngoc Quynh is the oldest, just having turned 100. Nguyen Ngoc Giao is 98, Nguyen Ngoc Hoan is 95, and Nguyen Ngoc Can is 91. Can’t imagine what that’s like? Perhaps Can, the youngest of the brothers, summed it up best when he said “The joy of aging yet having brothers to share the recollections of such significant experiences brings me happiness.”


Many of the things that bring these remarkable brothers joy and happiness are shared attitudes and lifestyles. In fact, they believe that their positive attitudes and healthy lifestyles are key factors in their longevity. These lifestyles include regular, healthy eating, consistent exercise and sleeping schedules, and the fact that none of them have ever smoked. 

They all enjoy writing and reading. Reading to gain wisdom and writing for pleasure, often diving into topics such as history, folk culture, and Buddhism, as well as poetry. When they get together, they share new poems they’ve composed, something they credit with maintaining their keen memories. Quynh, who turned 100 earlier this year, not only reads and writes poetry, but is proficient in translating Chinese to Vietnamese. 

Each of the brothers takes independent care of themselves, some focusing on walking, others on nutrition, with all turning to herbs from their garden instead of medication when necessary. 

All the brothers believe that a sound spirit is essential for a sound body. Hoan specifies an optimist outlook, a positive life stance, and avoiding bitterness or negative speech about others are essential. 

They are all involved in several local organizations, including poetry clubs, as well as hobbies such as gardening for themselves and their families. 


For their families, the brothers’ good health and mental sharpness is a joy. This multi-generational family, over 300 descendants four generations deep, have all been raised and nurtured under the family’s Confucian ethos where scholarship and a virtuous character are valued. Each family member has benefited from instruction in proper etiquette, behavior, and societal engagement. 

They all come together at the annual New Year celebration to honor their ancestors and exchange well wishes for continued good health. Even at these large gatherings, each of the brothers remembers the names and relationship of each member of the family. 

Clearly, the 100 Year Lifestyle is alive and well in Vietnam, epitomized by the Nguyen Ngoc brothers. Curious for some details about their lives, including some of the interesting “work” experiences three of the brothers share? Keep reading…


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