Saturday, May 3, 2008

Forty-Four More

According to the National Vital Statistics Reports, the average life expectancy of a 44-year-old white woman in the United States is 38 years, meaning she is most likely to die at age 82. That means statistically, my life is more than half over. Say what? I admit, 82 sounds like a ripe old age, but it’s not nearly old enough for me. I, for one, am not going to accept the data - I refuse to conform to the mean. I really liked my first 44 years of life, so I’m ordering up 44 more.

How can I get an extra six years out of life? Forbes Magazine reports that there are ten things you can do to live longer: don’t oversleep, be optimistic, have more sex, get a pet, get a VAP test (whatever that is), be rich, don’t smoke, chill out, eat your antioxidants, and marry well.

Looking over the list, I feel pretty good about my chances. I actually sleep between six and seven hours a night, the recommended length. (Who knew that sleeping too much could actually be bad for you?) I’m an optimistic person, I have an adorable little West Highland terrier, and I don’t smoke. I’m happily married to the father of my children and while we’re not exactly rich, we’re doing okay. Other than freaking out about the fact that I only have 38 years left to live, I’m pretty chill. But there are a few areas where I can do better.

First of all, I’ve never heard of a VAP before. Apparently, it’s an advanced cholesterol test that detects heart disease much better than regular tests. It’s been a few years since I’ve had even a basic cholesterol test. If I want to live to see 88, I better make an appointment for a physical and get that VAP. I’m just glad I can wait a few more years before getting my first colonoscopy.

As for eating enough antioxidants, I’m falling short here too. Antioxidants, found in a variety of foods like blueberries, artichokes and beans, are great for cleansing the body of free radicals – the toxic molecules of oxygen that can damage and age our bodies. Antioxidants are like an inner fountain of youth. From now on, walnuts, kale and raspberries are going to be my foods of choice.

Finally, I’m going to step things up in the sex department. In addition to the obvious physical gratification, frequent sex has lots of other benefits – like stress reduction and better sleep – that can lower blood pressure and reduce risks of stroke and heart disease. Besides, this is a fun way to increase my life span. And it will benefit my husband too. As a 44-year-old white male, Liam can only expect to live another 34 years unless he takes action.

I just hope he’s interested in living longer too or else improving in this area is going to be a little tricky for me.

1 comment:

Marjie Killeen said...

I admit, I've turned 45 since I originally wrote this posting.