My good health, for now, at 52
By all accounts, this has been a great year. Iâ€™m only 52 and just became a grandfather for the first time. My amazing, perfect, beautiful grandson was born in September. To add to that, I had a thorough heart exam and a colonoscopy and passed both with excellent results. I have many things to look forward to in the coming years.
Despite this, I canâ€™t help but wonder how long I will live.
My dad is 77, and while he is still capable of taking care of himself, I know he is getting weaker. A series of ailments have left him unable to walk. In addition, and this is really tough for me, he is starting to forget. I was the first one in the family to notice it happening, but now everyone agrees with me.
So I wonder. How long will I be here, and what will my quality of life be like when I get to my dadâ€™s age? Frankly, I want to be in better physical and mental health than him when I get to 77 and 87, and hopefully, 97.
What I must do to reach 100
I realize this will take some effort. My sweet tooth is probably my biggest danger, and I admit I donâ€™t have control over it yet. However, I donâ€™t smoke and rarely drink and love to exercise, so I feel pretty good about my chances. Therefore, I am setting a goal: I want to live to be 100 yeas old, and this year I will begin taking the steps I need to get there. With this in mind, I have started researching longevity to learn what I can do now to ensure I get another 48 years.
One of the first things I found was an article by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel titled, â€śWhy I Hope to Die at 75â€ť.Only 75 years? In the article, Dr. Emanuel explains that he thinks that by the time he gets to 75, he will have experienced a full life of love, and fun, and accomplishments. He also states that he thinks most people suffer a serious decline in health by that age, and that anything beyond that is not a desirable life.
Sorry doctor, I just donâ€™t agree. My dad still loves his life. Even with his failing body and memory, he got to meet his great grandson in September, and the tears in his eyes showed just how special that was.
Dr. Emmanuel, I donâ€™t see things your way
So, I have turned my back on Dr. Emanuel and continued looking. Happily, I have learned that how long I will live might at depend at least somewhat on my attitude.
A recent study, conducted at University College London and published in December 2014 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that people who feel younger than their age live longer. It also found that people who feel older than their age stay in more, have fewer friends, and are less active. It makes sense to me that if you live like you are younger, then you will live longer.
Thatâ€™s what I am going to do. I will not slow down or stop doing anything simply because of my age. Thatâ€™s it. Iâ€™m going to keep on living. I am excited about all the things ahead of me: the birthdays and ski slopes, the sunrises and ballgames, the long walks with my wife and the long talks with my dad. It doesnâ€™t have to be any more complicated than that. Dr. Emanuel, I just donâ€™t understand your point of view. I hope for your sake that you change your mind.