Back in February, Jeralean Talley made national headlines as one of the world’s oldest women. Following the passing of 116-year-old Gertrude Weaver and 117-year-old Misao Okawa, Talley now holds the title of the world’s oldest person at 11.
Talley is only a few weeks away from turning 116 on May 23 and has remained surprisingly healthy, according to experts.
That is perhaps the most astonishing part of Talley’s new title.
Outside of limited mobility, Talley has still lived a normal life and lived completely on her own up until a few years ago.
Talley was even mowing her own lawn in recent years and was actively bowling at the age of 104.
“It’s truly incredible because Ms. Talley is very aware of what’s going on,” said Michael Kinloch, a 56-year-old GM engineer from Canton who is also a longtime friend of the Talley family, according to USA Today. “Her mental state is very sharp.”
Kinloch added that it is “unfortunate that other people passed away” but also acknowledged that the new title has “elevated” Talley’s status.
In fact, Talley was on the phone with TIME when reporters finally made their way to her home on Thursday.
Living beyond the century milestone is an incredibly rare occurrence for anybody but it’s downright perplexing when a Black person is boasting the title of the world’s oldest person.
As Atlanta Blackstar previously reported, there are a series of factors that tend to drastically slash the life expectancy of Black people in America.
For Talley, a Black woman residing in Inkster, Michigan, after being born in Georgia back in 1899, living beyond the 116-year mark is something to truly marvel at.
So what does Talley credit for her long, healthy life?
She insists it has nothing to do with her own lifestyle and so much more to do with a person’s destiny.
“It’s coming from above,” she told reporters. “That’s the best advice I can give you. It’s not in my hands or your hands.”
Experts estimate that only one in every 5 million people across the globe will live to be at least 110 years old.
While she isn’t still mowing the lawn or going bowling, Talley is enjoying her role as a great-great grandmother thanks to the recent addition of 2-year-old Armmell.
It won’t be long before Armell is joining Talley on her annual fishing trip at the trout pond.