I Want To Be 100 Years Old
September 25th, 2012

I should clarify that. 

I want to be 100 years old… eventually.  For the moment I’m quite happy at 35. 

I’ve been thinking about age a lot lately, though.  Last week* I celebrated my birthday.  At the same time I started sort of digging into Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s work which promotes wellness and longevity achieved by adhering to a nutrient-rich diet.  Then yesterday (with birthdays still on the brain) as I was out for a bit of a walk after lunch I decided that I want to live to be 100 years old. 
I’m not sure when it started, but for a very long time I’ve cared a great deal about my health.  I suppose it goes back to high school and a fixation on my weight.  But since then I’ve come to a consistent happy place on the scales (I still weigh myself at least three times a week…) and now my concerns are more tied to my actual well-being.  I’ve always been a regular exerciser.  I eat a reasonably balanced diet.  I get regular checkups.  And I usually get plenty of sleep.  But if I’m going to play the long game – and what game is longer than 100 years? – then I need to do more. 

Lately I’ve been reading more and more about how the American approach to disease – treatment, rather than prevention – is all backwards.  This isn’t to say that everyone who has cancer or diabetes is at fault for their illness.  It is to say that scientific research has shown us how to dramatically reduce our risk factors, and I intend to do just that.  I have some sense of how I’ll go about it.  The sweeping majority of it will be dietary – increased consumption of things like beans, lentils, Swiss chard, and blueberries, and decreased consumption of things like white starch, meat, and soda.  Changes to my nutritional profile won’t be the sum total, though.

I want to relax more.  I want to smile more.  I want to feel more purposeful.  I want to read more books and take more baths.  I’ve felt static lately, as though my life – while abudantly happy – isn’t being cultivated as it should.  I want to be happy and thriving on my hundredth birthday, not merely hanging on.  For that to be the case I need more than phytonutrients.  I need a not just a balanced diet, but a balanced life. 

In all honesty, I may not be that far off.  But I think a few thoughtful changes might go a long way.  I don’t yet know what they’ll be, but I plan to write about some of them here.  Perhaps you’d like to see your hundredth too.  Perhaps we should celebrate together! 

*During an unplanned week-long blogging hiatus - the juices just weren’t flowing…

5 Responses to “I Want To Be 100 Years Old”

  1. Bridget Says:

    Your blog is timely with an article I read on Yahoo Health yesterday that mentioned (forgive me) castrated men have hostorically lived almost 20 years longer than their counterparts. It was just kind of food for thought in the face of testosterone supplements that are so popular now to make men feel young again. The artilce does give one sure fire way to increase your odds of living to a ripe old age… choose parents and grandparents that live long.

    As for me, I think 100 might be a litle too long. Anything past 80 and I’ll be ready to meet my maker.

  2. Gale Says:

    Bridget – Your comment about testosterone supplements reminds me of something else on this topic that I read recently but didn’t include in my post.

    I think it was on Dr. Fuhrman’s website that there was mention of the earlier occurance of puberty in today’s kids than in kids 100+ years ago. The key takeaway was that later puberty is an indicator of slower aging. That is, a body that goes through puberty at 11 or 12 years of age (as is common today) is aging more quickly than one that goes through puberty at 16 or 17 (as was common in the late 19th and early 20th centuries). The piece I read (this article isn’t it, but alludes to the same ideas) discussed that if our children are aging more quickly as adolescents, then they will age more quickly throughout life.

    At any rate, as I think about pee-wee football teams and all the other symptoms of modern American parents’ desire for their children to be bigger, stronger, sooner, paired with your comment about the effects of testosterone, I continue to be amazed at the long-term effects of the Western diet and cultural preferences.

  3. e Says:

    WOW! Really interesting thoughts…..scary for today’s youth.

  4. Kristen @ Motherese Says:

    Happy belated birthday, Gale!

    I’m 35 too and, especially now that my child-bearing days are behind me, I’ve also become very interested in my own health. I had my first non-OB/GYN physical in many years this summer and have been slowly trying to exercise more and eat more healthfully. While some of these efforts take more time, I look at it this way: my committing myself to my own health and well-being benefits my family in many ways. Not only am I a better role model for my kids, I’m also doing what I can to ensure that I’ll be able to take care of them and of myself for as long as possible.

    Off to learn more about Dr. Furhman. Thanks for the introduction!

  5. Gale Says:

    Kristen – I haven’t read his books yet, but I’ve been scouring his website. The concept of nutritional density is fascinating to me, as are the indications that we can reverse and prevent many/most chronic diseases. Most compelling? His premise that what we feed our kids in their first 10 years of life is a greater predictor of what diseases they will or won’t develop as adults than what they eat later in life.