Thursday, June 25, 2009

Longevity has nothing to do with eating healthy

On a day when Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett have passed away, it might be possible that one's mortality comes into question. Exactly how long will we live? When will we die? Why will we die? Is there any hope to extend our lives?

Well exactly how long we live really depends on our lifestyles, if we're healthy and to be bluntly honest, just plain luck. The fact that we're a lane shift, a misstep or a centigrate of body temperature away of expiring might be a little harrowing at first, but that doesn't make it less real. We are truly a stone's throw away from kicking the bucket, and the only guarantee of life is that eventually, even if we become a vampire, we're going to die.

I look back at my relatives, those who still live and those who have passed and I start jotting down just exactly what could be the reason for my demise. Stroke, heart attack, renal failure, diabetes, cancer of various types, accidental deaths etc, and the weird part is that there is no discernible illness. The most is that there have been four people from throughout my family that have died from cancer, but those ranged from pancreatic, to colon, to ovarian to brain.I look at my background and have to accept that it's anyone's guess when and why I'll die.

I look at my ancesters and see that my great grandmother gave birth to eight kids, worked her ass off for lord knows how many years, live through an exile from her home country, saw some of her children pass on, and herself passed away at 94. She happened to have cut back on smoking and occasionnaly had a shot of Cutty Sark or dark rum for good measure and passed away in her sleep.

I then see health nuts, colon cleansing aficionados and tofu scarfing hordes dying before they turn 60 and there's no easily discernible reason for death, except a high level of stress and lack of satisfaction with what they have achieved so far. To be honest, though there are some exceptions, most of the people I know who have died before they reached 60 for whatever reasons they might have passed away, seem to have had some type of conflict in their life they couldn't get over. Actually many advanced age people that are quite fit and die suddenly usually have something that truly affects them emotionally to the point where their health is compromised.

Is it any wonder that cancer patients that are treated with kindness and given entertainment and activities to better their quality of life live longer than those who live in eternal vigil of their passing? Yeah, there might be some Scrooges that make it to old age crabbing about and being overall miserable, but hell, what's the use of longevity if you can't make it count for something other than being a token sour puss?

What I'm getting at is that you can eat as healthy or as poorly as you want. Yes, this will directly affect how well you do in your life, but maybe it won't. Remember that guy from Super Size me who pretty much lives off of Big Macs? Do you also remember Jim Fix? While one died from a heart attack after selling millions of books and eating tofu goodness, the other is still going strong with a normal cholesterol count and the zesto to declare happilly that he spends a third of his salary at McDonald's.

The two most important things that will determine how long you live are your level of satisfaction with life and your genetic makeup. So if you balance the psychological with the most basic physiological components, then you'll get an idea of your expiration date.

One more thing though, while you ponder on the quality of your chromosomes, remember one thing. Be it ten, twenty, fifty or a hundred, it's not how many years you live, it's how worthwhile each of those years was. Remember, it's good to know you're eventually going to die, but it isn't good to only think of that day. It's like only thinking of a goal in a journey. We all begin, we all end. Our beginnings and end are similar, but what we do in the in between, that is where a soul is defined and a life is lived.

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