A new report shows that we're living longer better. But what does better mean?
At the age of 71, I've outlived two of my children—a daughter to leukemia and my son in a drug-crime related car crash. Both children are cherished and deeply mourned.
I love to write—novels particularly, three of which have been published to date (see the bottom of the page), four more ready to go, and three more written. That takes care of my mind, but what of my body?
I've always eaten a healthy diet, maintained daily exercise and kept a positive attitude. However, I've noticed a decline in the last couple of years. More than ten years ago, an accident during a hip replacement caused a shattered femur resulting in a shaft from the joint to the knee screwed in place to the bone. After my recovery, I continued to work on my feet for 8 hours a day until I retired with osteoporosis at 64. Lately, I notice the struggle, using my walker for support, uphill and back. I'm getting old.
I don't mind. Aging is a natural process as is death. I don't attempt to halt the decline, but notice the fine hair on my jaw, the wrinkle above my top lip and the stoop to my back. Then there's the pain in my bones and joints, which is more severe with the passing years. I tie my silver hair up high on my head. I'd like to think I look distinguished. I can't afford to have a professional photo taken, so, rather than show my image as it is now, I use one taken 15 years ago. Out of doors, nobody gives me a second look, whereas the reverse occurred in my youth.
Although I speculate about the future, I thank God daily for the marvel and beauty of nature and for the games I play—after all, writing is just a pastime. I wonder what will happen when my husband is no longer around to take care of me. The fact is, most people who live into their 90s die after an extended period of disability. Do I want this?
In America, everyone wants to look like 30 when they're 60 years old. Because they're better than ever at age 67, they think the same will be the case at 87 or 97. They exercise and eat with that future in mind. Do they want to live longer if that means an extended period of age-related illness?
What does the future hold? I guess we all want a long and healthy life and a peaceful death. In the meantime, I'll go on writing.