The miracles of science can keep us alive long past our expiry date. Is that a good thing? That depends …
I read an article a little while back titled;
A Longer Lifespan – If We Can Afford It
It began by saying:
Today’s Americans will live much longer than they think. What does that mean for their financial futures?
Most Americans don’t see themselves living all that long past retirement age—and why would they want to, anyway? Old age is often a drag, a tedious and unpleasant slide into sickness. So, even if everybody could make it to 100, would they really want to?
Dr. Thomas Perls, a specialist in aging and longevity, is determined to kill the common myth that “the older you get, the sicker you get.”
In his study on centenarians (people over 100 years old), he found that most of them had taken excellent care of themselves throughout their lives, which meant they were healthy and independent well into their 90s. So Perls coined a new adage:
“The older you get, the healthier you’ve been.” He believes that most Americans have the genetic blueprint for living at least into their late 80s, depending on what they do with that blueprint.
In studying Seventh-Day Adventists – according to the dictates of their religion – they’re forbidden to smoke, drink or eat meat while being encouraged to exercise regularly and pray frequently.
This, of course, immediately brings to mind Woody Allen’s incisive quote:
“You can live to be a hundred … if you give up all the things that make you want to live to be a hundred.”
Most Adventists live into their 80s and 90s, proving that longevity is not determined by genes alone because people of this faith come from all regions, ethnicities and walks of life.
That’s not to say that having protective genes doesn’t help – as about 15 to 20 percent of us do – but among the centenarians that Dr. Perls studied, some had good genes, and others didn’t.
What Can We Do to Ensure Our Longevity?
Not surprisingly, Perls suggests that taking simple actions every day can significantly impact our later years, which means; don’t smoke, avoid junk food, exercise regularly, and being sure to allow for relaxation and rejuvenation.
So, let’s go back to the original question;
Will you live longer than you actually want to?
There’s no glory in being the wealthiest person in a long-term care facility. Still, if you have your health, the answer is almost certainly “no,” after all, if you’re feeling good, why leave?
The future has a nasty habit of arriving much quicker than we thought, which means focusing on enjoying a life of health is paramount, with the keyword being “enjoy”!
As Woody Allen’s quote so presciently phrased it, “if life isn’t fun, what’s the point”?
So “NO” we absolutely don’t have to (nor should we) give up all the things that make us want to live to be 100. Still, we have to eat well, get enough sleep, avoid chronic stress and be physically active.
And how is THAT not fun?