One Maritime woman says a sensible, low-fat diet and keeping stress levels down is key to a long and happy life. 

And at the age of 108, Nellie Harris would know.

“I wasn’t the worrying type. Worry kills a lot of people,” says Harris, who recently celebrated her birthday.

Harris was born in Tabusintac, N.B. in 1906 – 13 years before women in the province were given the right to vote.

“Well, I had a happy childhood. My family were six girls and a boy,” says Harris. “My father was a farmer/fisherman and my mother was a schoolteacher.”

Harris says she is amazed by the progress made since she was a young girl.

“We’ve advanced more. We’ve got roads, we’ve got lights, we’ve got telephones,” she says. “We’ve advanced from those days and they are always doing something new.”

Harris is in good health today, but that hasn’t always been the case. She has battled cancer three times in her 108 years.

“The last one was cancer of the throat. It was cancer of the stomach, was the other one.”

Harris’ daughter says her mother’s faith has gotten her through many of the difficult times in her life.

“It’s a real part of her life. It is the central part of her life, and that has been a blessing to me,” says Lorraine Wishart.

“I’ve known Nellie since I was a little girl,’ says Marilyn MacEachern, who works at the Tabusintac Nursing Home. “She has always been a very strong individual. She has made an impact on everybody.”

Harris says she doesn’t have many regrets in life, but if she had to do it all again, she would have put a stronger emphasis on education.

“If I were growing up again today, I would look to get a good education, something I could make a good living at,” she says. “All I thought about was a good time. I didn’t think about education or nothing. I just thought I would have a good time.”

But Harris acknowledges that having a good time is part of the journey too.

With files from CTV Atlantic's David Bell