HOW TO LIVE TO BE 100
The following blog, along with previous blogs written, is based on issues from various patients I have worked with over the years. If you wish to no longer receive these blogs, merely e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, stating “Do not email future blogs” and your name will be deleted from the mailing list.
You may have heard it said, “It’s not the amount of years in your life that matter but rather the amount of life in your years.” Accomplishing either is harder for some rather than others. Being free of disease and injuries, having a lot of money and having access to excellent health care helps a lot. Genetics can also influence longevity in 40 percent of the population that reach 100 years. However, in spite of these factors in life, you can still live to a ripe old age if that is what you want.
Let’s assume, if you’re reading this, you would like to live as many full years as possible or you’re just curious about the topic or you’re just cynical and looking to blow holes in anything that is written here. Regardless, here goes.
In spite of the pandemic decreasing the lifespan of Americans by at least a year, there is a steady growth in the number of centenarians. The primary reason for the growth in the 100 plus age group is partly the result of better medical care and in combination of improved lifestyle factors.
Many people look forward to retirement, so they can sit back and do nothing. That can be the “kiss of death”. For many, work gave them purpose and meaning, a reason to get up every day. This does not mean you should work for the rest of your life but if you’re not working, your life should be replaced with some type of meaningful activity.
Higher education degree enhances longevity. This need not end with age. I read of a ninety five year old woman recently obtaining a Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education. When asked what she planned to do next? Her answer was that she was going to write a book on the subject. This doesn’t mean you need to obtain a college degree to live longer. However, it does mean that it is never too late to learn new things, Stimulating the mind with new things out there is great in providing new purpose and meaning in your life.
Retirement doesn’t mean your life stops. Visualize your later years as the last quarter of a basket ball game. As in the last quarter of of a basketball game, you don’t seat on the bench, waiting for the game to end, but rather you play harder to make the greatest impact possible, regardless of the ending. Having a positive attitude, being mentally physically and socially active matters to living longer. Being involved with others, attempting to make a difference and working in some way, be it paid or volunteer positions, are all examples of making the greatest impact possible.
When times get bad or distressful, as they invariably do, you will need a purpose, a mission, something beyond yourself. This will motivate you to reframe that stressful situation into something more productive and life fulfilling.
Simply things that you can do to improve longevity include the standard strategies such as not smoking, drinking in moderation, eating foods that are high on fruits and vegetables and low on meat and exercising, even if it mean taking a walk, riding a bike or taking a hike. I am sure you already know this but a simple reminder never hurts.
Focus on doing things you enjoy. If you don’t know what you would enjoy, try different things until you find what brings you the most joy and pleasure. Examples can include starting a garden, learning a language, developing a hobby, volunteering in your community through formal or informal organizations.
As you get older, you have learned many things over the years and have many things to bring to others. You may take them for granted but there is value in your knowledge that can be shared with family or with the community at large. Developing a social life with other people can positively influence longevity. In prior generation, family filled that need with grandparents, children, grandchildren and perhaps great grandchildren. With today’s families being more mobile and scattered, socialization and a sense of family can rather come from people that we meet who have common interests, values or goals.
We are all beings in process, with daily opportunities to learn and grown regardless of age. Understanding this will hopefully help you to have a reason to wake up every morning. A clear sense of purpose will make the journey more enjoyable and hopefully longer lasting.
Readers are invited to comment, share thoughts, ideas or suggestions about this blog or any other previous blogs. Readers can e-mailing me at email@example.com or mailing me at lifesourcecenter, 710 Main Street, Plantsville Connecticut, 06479.