How old do you want to get?
Well written and thought provoking article Terrell. Ironically, I am in Florida, visiting my 99 year old Mom. She has outlived the battery power of her 22 year old pace maker for her heart and had a new one surgically installed at the hospital yesterday. The new one only has an 8 year warranty and now I’m concerned she may need to go through another operation at the age of 107. 😱 Fortunately she came thru the anesthesia with her mild dementia no worse off and her radiant, joyful smile intact. The doc didn’t even require an overnight hospital visit so we returned to the independent living facility where she insisted on having dinner with her friends. (Perhaps wanting to inspire others or show the world she is quite resilient.). Anyway, she never ceases to amaze and inspires the heck out of me. Obviously, every situation is different, but I am blessed with a fabulous Mom who still wants to “be here” and looks forward to each beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic. Her secret sauce ingredients: great genes, curious mind, still a very good Bridge player, loves people and has younger friends ( by necessity), walks about a mile through out the day , occasional Scotch drinker, and never overeats. She has maintained a slim figure for 99 years. Maybe there is something to be said for a modest form of “vanity” into old age?
My conclusion: Love life, love yourself and others, and be joyful and kind to everyone you meet. As my Mom would tell you: Having a fabulous husband for 70 years was the icing on the cake. After further reflection she would say, “it was the cake”! 🥰
Thanks for this! It's the type of thing I'm writing about. With advances in longevity and healthcare we need to build the skills to thrive later in life: it doesn't help just to live longer.
Thanks T! Once again a great writing to ponder. I have said before, there is a centenarian here in town who is still running, although slower and less distance. I ran near him in a half a few years ago. Not sure, but I think he beat me in his mid-90’s.
I am in the camp of longevity in a healthy way. That is part of my motivation to run. As soon as I finish this I will go out for Day 53. It has been a great running year so far. Next month I will run my first half of the season just a little over a week shy of my 59th birthday.
So to me, the possibility of running to 100+ is real, in my mind. After all, I didn’t start serious running until 51. I feel like as I continue to do my best to be healthy and stay in shape, I have a shot at it.
I lost a family member (in-law) last week who was 65. So I know there are plenty of other possibilities and we really are not in control of how long we live. But I will keep trying my best and seek to do what I can.
Great topic as one who is over 75 and still going with a few setbacks! Gotten passed the hurdle of shortness of breath and ankle pull while walking out to see daffodils! It took awhile.
Running might be in the cards, but I've replaced it with Nordic Walking, Seems I can go faster walking with poles and it is better exercise than I ever experienced running (think cross-country skiing and you have it!).
I don't think I would want to live longer and longer. Sure, I'm curious, but at the expense of the younger generation treating me as if I'm old and not all there (which they do!) I think I'd rather give up this body and move on to the next. Of course, one has to believe in reincarnation, but that is a whole different thought pattern.
I did enjoy the phrase "remove the burden of the future". I think that has a lot to do with how humans continue on. There is a lot of energy tied up in holding on to the past and the future. If one can be free of attachment and keep their health, it must be possible for the mind and body to keep going as long as it is meant to. The past rishis have said 120 years, but who knows?
Cold in my neck of the woods. The Frazer River moved in for this week and things are frozen. It should warm up considerably by next week and move on toward spring. The birds know it and are out singing their mating calls.
Enjoy your day, one never knows. . . ! :)
Thanks Terrell. Yes, my Mom is quite a woman. She served in a division during the war where a group of women were trying to break German military codes. Whether she helped “win” the war or not, she will not reveal as she maintains a code of silence. But her agile mind still solves the daily “jumble words” and riddle in record time each day. Yes, I have quite a Mom.
Wow, interesting read.
I agree, want to live as long as I can, as long as I'm healthy and able to be a participant in society and not a bystander. I've been doubly blessed, my Mom recently passed @ 88 and my Dad is still around @ 90! If I could manage to have the type of life they had, even up to the end [Mom struggled a little at the end, but maybe 6 weeks, so still a full, amazing life], I'd sign for it now...
Also, as many here have said, we don't get to "control" this so often I think of making sure I live my best life all the time - doesn't always work but it always allows me to begin my day looking forward to what the day will bring. Terrell, enjoy today to its fullest!
This is something I personally feel very strongly about--and that is, maximizing healthy, engaged longevity. I have been a hobbyist researcher on this topic since the early 2000s...I believe I've mentioned Dr. Mark Hyman before here--but he's my favorite "go to" on the topic of longevity and "reducing biological age." He's come out with a new book--Which I just bought--and his IG account is chock full of digestible information. (He is an MD, but one who specializes in functional medicine--i.e. lifestyle, including emotional/spiritual wellbeing.) His book is called: Young Forever: The Secrets to Living Your Longest, Healthiest Life. Great post, T.
Really interesting post. I think about this sort of thing a lot, though I confess I focus more on the visual than the physical. I am optimistic enough to hope that my genetic inheritance will give me a decently long life, as long as I don't screw it up somehow! But it's interesting to think of the self that looks so different in the mirror, and that will continue to look so different in the mirror as we get into 80, 90, and older. Is that person a different person than the youthful self in our photos? Maybe the idea of the centenarian in the NYT piece is the way to go here. In a way, it's -not- the same person. It's a new adult, a different adult, one who's related in some way to that younger self enough to vaguely look like her but is distinct. And, to bring it back to the physical, maybe it's ok to be that older, new, adult with a whole different set of abilities and, yes, strengths!
Thanks for sharing, I want to strive to be healthy and be active in my families lives- not pushy, but someone they want to be around. Only live long if i am not a burden on them.
Thanks for this piece T - aging has been on my mind as well. My mom passed away recently at 75 - but she was in so much pain the last few years of her life (Parkinson’s, diagnosed at 71), it was almost a relief to lose her. I now belong to the camp of “dying relatively young but painlessly is a better option than living a long life of suffering” .. but this view will likely change with new experiences. Bottom line, stay healthy and keep running and loving life while I still can!
My goal is to keep running into my 80's and live to be 100.
As long as you are healthy, any age can be good.
I understand the not worrying about the future comment.
Now that my children are adults, I am no longer responsible for them.
Now that I am getting closer to retirement and am prepared to retire today, I look at my work and my job differently.
Now that my parents are gone, I no longer worry about them and what might happen. I have seen their future.
As you get older your responsibilities change or go away. What a load off the old back that is!
And once you hit 50 you stop caring what other people think of you.
When I was in my 30's I was obsessed with what my boss thought about me. Now I really don't care. As long as I'm doing my job and not being a jerk.
I have read that people in their 80s are some of the happiest people alive.
Live until you die. Keep engaged. Don’t try to be young. Embrace your wisdom. Keep active. Love others.
Late to the party here, but the comment about the one woman who was no longer “burdened by the future” struck me. My late husband battled cancer for 11 years in his 30’s and 40’s. The balance that we were constantly struggling with through those years, with 3 young (and then older) children, was with how live as if he might die “tomorrow” while being prepared for him to beat cancer and live a long time. Decisions about him continuing to work, whether to do bucket list kinds of things at the expense of financial security or children’s education, even whether to let little things slide (kid wants to stay up late on a school night with dad to watch a movie, kind of thing). We were “burdened by the future” in that we had to constantly choose between living for the day or taking actions in case he had a future. I think there will be a certain freedom at 80 or 90 (or 100 even) knowing that my time will be undoubtedly coming to a close and I will truly be able to live for the day and in the moment. I hadn’t thought about it this way before and I’m happy to anticipate this benefit of growing old. Thanks T for reposting.