Will I live to be 80? (And do I want to?)
Will I live to be 80?
I recently picked a new primary care doctor. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing "fairly well" for my age.
A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him, "Do you think I'll live to be 80?"
He asked, "Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer or wine?"
"Oh no," I replied. "I'm not doing drugs, either!"
Then he asked, "Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?"
I said, "No, my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!"
"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?"
"No, I don't," I said.
He asked, "Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?"
"No," I said.
He looked at me and said, "Then, why do you even give a $#!t?"
All kidding aside though, why would I want to live to be 80 or 90 years old? I have no children to care for me or keep me company when I'm old. My spouse will probably die before I do, even though he's nine years younger. I have few friends my own age, and all of them have health problems. I'm the second youngest of eight children, and all of my siblings either currently smoke or did at one time, so they will likely die before I do.
My father will turn 87 next month, and he's in pretty good shape for his age. But he's also the last one living in his family. All of his siblings and their spouses are deceased. Since his last sibling died a few months ago, he's started referring to himself as an orphan. And to top it all off, his decades-younger wife nearly died earlier this month from meningitis. Needless to say, he was very upset, as "it wasn't supposed to work out this way." In other words, everyone figured that he would die first because he's so much older than she is. Even though my father has eight living children, we were all wondering who would take care of him if his wife died.
All of this has me pondering my own mortality. I've always taken very good care of myself (never smoked, always wear sunscreen, have never used drugs, eat a reasonable diet to keep my cholesterol down, don't let myself get over a certain weight, etc.) so that I will live a long healthy life. And it looks like I'll probably end up an "orphan" just like my father.
OK, I'm getting off the computer now to spend the day in the sun, eat a big steak, drink a couple glasses of wine, and drive really fast to a casino.
-- Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "Woo-hoo! What a ride!"