Perhaps it’s only a sign that I’m getting older, but I’ve been thinking more and more about longevity. It’s not so much that I fear death (although who of us can say we don’t fear it at all?), as it is that I’d kind of like to know how the remaining years of my life will unfold. I accept that few of us can know the future, but wouldn’t it be good to have a positive vision for the final decades of our lives?
So often, old age is seen only as a time of decline, depression and loneliness. Call me a pollyanna if you like, but that’s not how I plan to spend my final years. Yesterday, I read a story about the death of Dr. Leila Denmark at age 114, a remarkable life span. But what really caught my attention was this detail in her obituary: she was a pediatrician who kept office hours five days a week into her 103rd year. And recently I’ve been dipping into John Robbins’ study of some of the world’s healthiest and longest-lived peoples, Healthy At 100. It’s an important book wherein Robbins brings together scientific studies of communities where people live much longer and healthier than most of us, and I’ll have more to say about it in a later post.
Today however, I want to salute longevity much closer to home: that of my own mother. I’ve just returned from a quick trip too Minnesota where my family celebrated my mother’s 90th birthday. It was a great occasion, not only because of my mother’s age, but because she continues to be so alive. Although my mother’s health isn’t perfect,
Photos: Top– my mother at home last fall. Above–celebrating her 90th with eight great grandchildren.