If you knew that you would live to 100 years old, what new project, skill or interest would you pursue? My contemporaries are around 70 years old; we spend time thinking about how many years we have left. On one hand, it can be depressing and somewhat frightening, but on the other hand, it allows us to think about what we want to accomplish in the years we have left. Benjamin Franklin said, “In this world, nothing can be certain, except death and taxes.” We chuckle at the comparison, but most of us dodge the thought of death as the universal commonality of humankind. It was Will Rogers who said, “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” Our passing out of this world is a sure thing…so what will we do with the time left?
I just participated in a life expectancy calculator online (you can google it). I was more interested in the questions that were asked than on the results, although my outcome was 100 years and the next screen was an ad for a financial advisor! Most importantly was the emphasis on activities and interests, followed by diet, exercise, and other medical conditions. Staying mentally active is #1! Of the thousands of Elders I’ve interacted with in my career, I have observed many that seem to be in a holding pattern – they appear much older and frailer – while others at 80 or 90 are vigorous and happy. The biggest difference seems to be their enthusiasm for new experiences every day. They are looking forward to making new friends and learning something new. If you anticipate 30 more years of life, don’t you want to pursue new interests and activities? The latest research is proving that the key to a longer life is to continue to engage in new activities, new hobbies, even a new career! If you’re reading this column, I guarantee that you’ll live to 100, so start living like it! If I’m wrong come back and tell me! In the meantime, join the conversation on Facebook at Just Now Old Enough.
Connie Mason Michaelis is a lifestyle consultant at www.justnowoldenough.com.