Aging ain’t for sissies - Betty Davis
We are all unique - first of all because of the genes we’ve inherited and then in the way we treat our living bodies, the only vehicle we will inhabit as we go through life. So it’s not easy to give opinions that predict what aging will be like for everyone who’s fortunate enough to get quite old.
You can get some clues from observing successful old people and recognizing traits they have in common. The big thing is that no matter what their physical condition, most of them seem to be engaged and haven't lost all their zest for life.
In this post I thought I’d write about what my experience has been as I have aged physically. I had two strikes against me from the start – most of my ancestors died young because of heart problems and I inherited that bad gene. Also, I smoked for 30 years before anyone knew how bad it was for the ‘cardiovascular’ system. As was predictable, I did start to have heart problems [angina] in my 50’s but kept them more or less under control by being active, taking medication and watching my diet.
When I was 72 my life was saved by having bypass surgery. To my delight, the operation gave me a new lease on life and, until I was 82, I had almost no reduction in energies or well-being. Since then vigour has begun to wane but, except for the pain of poor circulation in both legs, I experienced no other aches or pains until I hit 85. Now at 86, on a bad day I can feel like the gal in the cartoon. I think it is because I've had to greatly reduce my activities and that has contributed to the onset of general aches and pains. I will begin visits to a swimming pool this week.
As you age you get to internalize and accept the idea of your inevitable demise but it would be very helpful to have an idea of how many heartbeats you have left. If you still have goals, it's also helpful to priorize. It dawned on me this week that I should Google ‘Life Expectancy Test’. Sure enough there are a number of lifespan tests and if you click on the three bits of coloured text you can visit any one or all three and take the tests. I took them all, averaged my results and I may have about 5 more years, if I take care of myself and all goes well.
The thing I liked about the tests is that I learned about the things that all the tests deemed important for long life and, best of all, find I have a control over quite a few of them. If you are younger, even better - check out your lifespan over time
Here’s to long life and living it to the full until the end. Rie