Mbah Gotho has seen more than you have. Really, he has experienced more than anyone else on the planet, which should come as no surprise since he is the oldest person on Earth. The Indonesian government recently verified his documentation, which states he was born in 1870. With that confirmation, people around the world have begun asking about his secret to a long life. His answer is surprising.
The 145-year-old is aiming to turn 146 on December 31 of this year. While he has seen some amazing transformations in the world during that time, his age also brings hardships. During the nineteenth-century, Gotho lost two of his siblings. The two subsequent centuries saw him lose the other eight. He has also outlived his four wives, the last one dying in 1988. Then there were his fourteen children, who have all passed away too. The former farmer now relies on his grandchildren, great grandchildren, and great, great grandchildren to take care of him. With Mbah becoming frailer over the last three months, he now has to be spoon-fed and bathed by hand.
Due to failing eyesight, Gotho spends his days listening to the radio. Once a voracious reader, he occasionally has his great grandchildren read to him. His only other excitement is the occasional cigarette. However, at this point, what he really wants to do is die. He began planning for his death in 1992 and even bought a tombstone. Nevertheless, 24 years later, he remains on his farm in Central Java. When asked his secret to a long life, Gotho replied it is patience.
While the Indonesian government has already verified Gotho’s birth documentation, external organizations must confirm the findings before he officially becomes the oldest person in the world. The current record holder is Jeanne Calment, a French woman who died at age 122. Other claimants to the title of oldest living person are Dhaqabo Ebba, a supposed 163-year-old from Ethiopia and James Olofintuyi, the purportedly 171-year-old from Nigeria. However, in both of these cases, no official documentation exists to prove when the men were born.