Tuesday, February 23, 2010

How to Live to be 100

(Note: I originally wrote this post for my blog at True/Slant.)

When I looked in the mirror this morning I thought I saw a new wrinkle. I’m not absolutely sure because I’m still adjusting to my bifocal contact lenses and everything up close looks a little blurry.
Hey, I’m not complaining. In your 40s, expression lines and declining vision come with the territory. Anyway, I figure I look damn good compared to how I’ll look when I’m 100.
Yep, 100. According to this week’s issue of Time Magazine, I’ve got a very good chance of reaching that ripe old age, and so do you.
“In the most recent Census, health officials predicted that by 2050, more than 800,000 Americans would be pushing into their second century of life. After the numbers from the 2010 Census are tabulated, some experts believe that figure will grow. By all accounts, these new centenarians are far from the frail, ailing, housebound people you might expect. In contrast, the majority of them are mentally alert and relatively free of disability and remain active members of their communities.
Gee, in 2050, I’ll still be be a sweet, young thing of 87. With so much life ahead of me I’m sure as hell not going to start feeling old now. But I can’t count on genetics and modern medicine to get me to 100.
According to researchers, genetics account for about 30% of aging; the remaining 70% is determined by lifestyle. In the same issue of Time, Dr. Mehmet Oz lists the things we can do to live not only a long life, but a healthy one.
His list is far from extreme – in fact it’s rather fun. We need to do a few simple things every day: exercise, get 15 minutes of sunshine (or take a vitamin D supplement), eat whole foods, sleep well, and have a purpose in life. I read his article twice and it says nothing about not drinking chardonnay.
I like the idea of living a long life, but only if I’ve got my wits about me. My grandmother lived well into her 90s, but toward the end, dementia made her days confusing and scary.
To keep our mind sharp, we need to keep it engaged.There’s a growing amount of evidence that as far as maintaining brain power goes, it’s use it or lose it. Learning a new skill or hobby and socializing keep our brains active and fully functioning.
Armed with this knowledge I’m heading off to play a little sudoku, have a glass of wine and a chat with my husband, eat an apple, then hit the hay. 2063, here I come!
And as for that wrinkle? I’ll worry about it in 50 years or so.


rn terri said...

I know. I was thinking the lines around my eyes are so much more prominent. Thank God about the chardonnay! ;-)

Mimi said...

This begs the question, will you be changing your blog name as you advance up the age ladder? For the fifties you won't have to change much because fabulous is still an alliteration, but sixty and sexy? seventy and sumptuous? eighty and ....hmmmm that'll be a challenge, ninety and no-nonsense, and finally one hundred and still here?!

Marjie Killeen said...

Mimi - I've been asked about changing my blog name as I hit a new decade. While I still have a few years to think about the 50s, I definitely like "100 years and still here" for my second century!

Anonymous said...

I like that. I think it's cute. I will be 39 this year and I'm about to have my second baby, so I will be following.