- Aging & Longevity
If 60 is the New 40 How Old is 90?
What does an 8-year-old know?
I remember walking to school one morning in Memphis, Tennessee when I was around 8 years old. I had just come to the realization that I was probably going to be around long enough to see the Millenium in the year 2000.
I also remember thinking that, if I did live that long, that I would be 56 years old. If I did make it, I would probably not be able to see or hear well enough; possibly be so feeble that I would not be able to appreciably experience this once-in-many-lifetimes event.
If you do the math, you will realize that I am now 68 years old. Contrary to my earlier beliefs, I am still quick mentally and physically, like to drive hot cars and I can still climb trees in my back yard in order to trim out the dead branches near the top.
I still like the way my wife’s waist makes a nice curve that blends into her hips and that her hair is nice to touch and smell.
I also remember a day when I was in still in my thirties that I filled out a 100 point questionnaire that was in one of my pharmacy journals that purported to be able to predict life expectancy, based on my responses to those questions. I remember questions about blood pressure, smoking, various body measurements, personal and family medical history, etc.
After completing the questionnaire and tabulating the results, it indicated that I would probably make it to 89. I remember looking at my pharmacy manager Betty and telling her, “I’m going to have to take better care of myself.”
I had never thought about the reality of living that long. My mind went back to my earlier self-evaluation when I had been walking down the street toward Guthrie Elementary School in the third grade. I really do have to take better care of myself.
OK. Now what?
I had just quit smoking a couple of years before, so I at least gotten that out of the way. I started doing a few things that I knew could make a difference. I started watching what I ate a little more closely. I started jogging three or four miles a couple of times a week and cut back on my alcohol consumption noticeably.
I haven’t done anything scary. I’m not a health nut. I exercise a little with free weights and am careful about salt intake and things like that. I know a lot of it is genetics, but I don’t have any blood pressure, heart, cholesterol or sugar problems.
I also have to credit my faith in God for helping to keep me mentally and spiritually relaxed, with my priorities mostly in order.
If I do make it to 89 or more, I think I will be glad that I kind of woke up a few years ago.
What do you think? Is the reality of retirement age much less fearful for you than you had earlier surmised?