How Long Would You Like To Live?

How long would you like to live?

This question was asked of USA Today readers. Now, before you read on, think of your number.

Okay. Got that number in mind?

Older people remember the ages of their loved ones when they died. My dad was 44. My mother was 90. Somewhere between these two numbers I expect to “pass on.” My life has already been saved by modern medicine three times. Nowadays, because of better health care and education, people are likely to outlive their money.

Back to the survey. I was very surprised to read the results. Thirty-seven percent of people said they wanted to live OVER 100 YEARS. Next came the decade from 90-99 which logged in 25%. The decade from 80-89 was also 25%. The remainder of gloomy recipients wanted to croak before 79.  Must be bad genes.

Does it seem that old men are usually skinny?

I got to thinking that those folks who wanted to live to be over 100 haven’t been around 100 year olds very much. They probably have some idealized vision of a lovely great grandparent rocking peacefully on the front porch. In this vision lots of doting great grandchildren would tuck them in at naptime and bring them their little can of peaches for dessert. In this ideal world, Gramps would be full of feisty witticisms and sage advice.

Don't show this photo to your kids.

Do any of you know a 100 year old remotely like this?

I won’t sour your day with memories of the very few 100+ year olds I have known.

I’ve decided my best time will be right at the cusp of that tipping point between being able to remember what I had for dinner last night, typing on my phone, hearing a voice on the other end of the line without turning up my hearing aid, and going to a full pureed diet. Going without adult diapers would be good. And so would not having a potty chair next to the bed. I’m thinking I wouldn’t miss those crusty, scabby things on my face, nor the electric wheelchair.

Scientists are always researching ways to prolong life. Recently they discovered that if the tips of your chromosomes are healthy you stay young! Well, at least they discovered this in mice.

Then I remembered my teenage acne, my massive case of dandruff, and my even skinner rib cage. I decided staying that young wasn’t for me.

So I guess I’ll stick to the original plan: Eat right, Exercise, Die Anyway.


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  1. Carolyn says:

    Those crusty, scabby things you mentioned on the face? My doctor calls them barnacles. Great, huh? “Barnacle Carolyn the Old Bag.” Honestly, I try not to think about it. What will be? Will be!