Sunday, August 26, 2007

Why Not Roll The Dice?

A realistic fear many have about aging and dying has to do with making their final exit in a nursing home. The best nursing homes are humane; but even then they are nothing more than warehouses for mere existence. So it is normal to hope and pray for a health span that is equal to your lifespan, regardless of its length. And though hope and prayer may have value, they are not enough.

Ignoring lifestyle factors that will either (a) help or (b) hurt one’s chances of remaining healthy and active until the end of life is childish. One well-worn joke told by many a boozy bar patron (usually a guy with a cigarette in one hand and a double whiskey in the other) is about how he plans to die at 100, after being shot by a jealous husband for getting caught in bed with the man’s wife.


More likely, his lifestyle choices will lead him to either an early grave or spending his later years barely aware of his own existence. Someone, I’m certain, will remind me about a friend or relative who smoked two packs a day, drank like a fish all his life, and remained spry well into his 90s. While the author/runner Jim Fix took good care of himself and checked out early in life. The stories many be true. But it is the unmistakable mark of an immature thinker to base lifestyle choices on anomalies.

Of course, there are never absolute guarantees of good health to the end of life, but it is certainly possible to put the odds way in our favor. The question is: Which lifestyle are you betting on with your life? Even some who have lived long enough to be called seniors still lack the mental maturity to play the odds. Please don’t be one of them.

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