Greetings and Happy 2012 To All!
Well, we are officially one week into the New Year & I am hopeful that you all have kept your New Year’s Resolutions thus far. Only 358 days to go…so good luck with that! I actually did not make any for 2012 – just resolving to take it “one day at a time”.
Having turned the Big Four-Oh (that’s 40 years old, folks!) last year, I have become more aware of the media’s coverage of age and longevity issues lately. For example, I came across an article in a recent issue of National Geographic that really caught my eye (and it wasn’t even because of Nat Geo’s famous and incredible photography).
The article title was what got my attention – “This Baby May Well Live To 100” and the article stated that babies born today in the U.S. and other developed countries have a greater than 50% chance of living to be centenarians. Wow! It is hard to imagine a world where 100-year olds are the norm, rather than the exception… In fact, the article estimates there will be over 600,000 centenarians as of the year 2050 (up from a measly 53,000 in 2010).
That got me thinking, what would it be like to be around for 60+ more years? On the surface, it sounds pretty good to me (think about all the rounds of golf that I’ll get to play!), but I need to remind myself that QUANTITY of life does not equate to QUALITY of life!
That distinction was made very clear to me during my holiday travels. For Christmas this year, I was in Joplin, MO (site of a devastating tornado in 2011) and I accompanied people as they delivered meals to homebound elders in the community. Virtually every house we visited was dark, messy, reeked of smoke, and had bottles and bottles of pills in the kitchen. The people, although grateful and kind, lacked vitality – as if they were just waiting for their time to come. It occurred to me that none of these folks would end up being centenarians, and I would guess that none of them would want to live to be 100.
So, this year I am resolving to take it one day at a time. After all, we only have today – just ask the people of Joplin, Missouri… Let’s all resolve to use it wisely.