Here’s a mind bender for you. “As you get older, you will live longer.”
If you are 88 years old and you turn 89, the statistical probability of you living longer increases. In other words, the longer you live, the longer you will live.
Here’s how this works. As you get older, the number of problems that can affect your health begin to level off. So, if you are still around by age 88, the diseases that could have caused your demise have been weathered. At this point, the chances of you living to the upper levels of the human age scale improve.
This is true at all phases of life, no matter how old or young you are. With each additional year you live, the odds of you living longer increase. If you are 23 and make it to 24, your odds of living even longer improve.
The moral of this story is, just work on living one more year.
That’s what I’m trying to do, and this is what I am doing to accomplish it.
One, every morning I eat blueberries, oranges, and bananas in a bowl with some whipped cream added. Outside of the obvious benefits of fruit in general, new research is especially high on blue berries as a source that aids mental alertness.
Two, I walk approximately two miles every day. The novelty of my routine is that I use walking sticks. That way I get a two for one benefit. I exercise both the upper as well as lower parts of my body. Plus, I burn 49% more calories.
Three, I drink three bottles of water mixed with Green Tea HP each day. That’s 51 ounces of water a day chucked full of antioxidants. The breakthrough for me was getting both the water and the green tea to taste good. (Thanks to my son Roger for making that possible.)
Four, I’ve dramatically cut down on eating red meat. For decades I ate red meat twice a day. Then, I read that consumption of red meat is a cause of heart attacks. So, about five years ago I cut it out, but two years ago I lapsed and now eat meat about twice a month. There’s nothing like steak and eggs in the morning. I’m pretty sure I won’t exceed that amount. I’ve noticed that I eat more pasta. I like pasta cooked in olive oil topped with a little bit of butter sauce.
Five, I get a physical every April. It was after one of these physicals that my doctor sent me to get a colonoscopy. The surgeon found and excised a polyp from my colon wall. I have colon cancer in my family. I figure that even if I have to have polyps cut out every year for the rest of my life, this may have put 15 to 20 years on my life. But, again, I just concern myself with living one year at a time.
One Day At A Time
Now that I’ve communicated what I’m doing to live one year at a time, I now turn to working on living one day at a time. Of late, I’ve become very existential about my life. All that really matters is what is happening right now. All we really know is what each of us knows in the present. The future is not completely under our control. Let’s face it, no matter how much I do to increase the chances of my longevity, if my genetic make-up is programmed for a shorter life span, I’m probably going to live a shorter period of time.
So, I do everything possible to live in the moment. Here are some of the things I do to bring that about.
One, I avoid anger and seek out humor. I can’t think of one positive thing that has happened in my life when I have gotten angry. I used to believe that my anger was in part justified by the idea of “righteous indignation.” That hasn’t worked for me. Anger is anger, no matter how you wrap it. Comedian Jay Leno summed it up for me when he said, “I can’t think of anything worth getting mad over.”
In its place, I look for what is humorous in life. I watch programs with comedy elements. Jon Stewart and Bill Maher crack me up. I love talking to my kids about politics and social issues, that’s always good for some great laughs. It’s especially fun when they don’t agree with me, which is almost always.
Two, I enjoy work for its own sake. Although I can’t outwork my wife, I enjoy getting wrapped up in some activity that occupies my time. I like the work associated with writing and research. I figure I have two to three hundred more articles to write. So, I’m working at writing every day of my life. I’m not so concerned with what I produce in an article or book, as I am with the ongoing movement of my mind when I’m working on an idea. Famed painter Pablo Picasso believed this as well. He was busy painting, sketching, and drawing up until his death. He was particularly fascinated with “the movement of his art,” and where it was taking him. He lived to be 91.
I even like working out in our gardens. We have a complex piece of property that has taken my wife and me a couple of years to tame. Cheri plants and creates beautiful, natural gardens, and I pull weeds.
Three . . . There is no three. That’s it.
I am a big fan of physicist Ray Kurzweil. He has written about the positive correlation between human longevity and the growth of technology. He points out that because technology continues to grow at an exponential rate, our lifespans will continue to expand at faster and faster rates also. If this is true, we’re going to continue to live longer and longer.
We already have outstripped our ancestors’ lifespans by a considerable amount. Just a couple of centuries ago the average lifespan of a person was 37 years old. Today, the average female in Japan lives to be 85 years of age. At the rate technology is growing, well within a century, we will be witnessing the first people who live to be 150 years of age.
Someday, dying will probably become a lost experience. I would like to be around to see this happen. But, in case I’m not, I will continue to focus on living just one more year at a time, and on enjoying life one day at a time.
In my opinion three things contribute most to successfully playing the odds of living longer. They are daily exercise, regulating your diet, and having a yearly physical. The results of doing this will be a body with less fat on it, a greater ability to regulate swelling, and in possession of an early warning system.
While I’m doing this, I will laugh and work all the day long.