Living long, living well

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the places and moments that take our breath away.”               – Anonymous

According to the Living to 100 Life Expectancy Calculator, which claims to use the most current and carefully researched medical and scientific data in order to estimate how old a person will live to be, I can expect to live until I’m 92!

If genetics has anything to do with it, I should live for a very long time. Each of my parents had just one sibling. All four are still alive today and the youngest amongst them is 86! Our recent trip to Vancouver included visits with all of them.

The eldest is my father’s sister. Two months short of her 92nd birthday, she is frail and very hard of hearing. She lives in a care facility but, until her back gave out less than two years ago, she lived in her own home and until recent years she was an avid world traveler who enjoyed maintaining her large and beautiful gardens.

We celebrated my mother’s 88th birthday last week. Though she spends her days in a wheelchair and has lost most of her sight over the past year, she continues to live at home where she’s lovingly cared for by my father who will be 87 the day after tomorrow. Following his retirement, they traveled the world together and after more than 62 years of marriage, he refuses to consider placing her in care and being separated from her. He does all the grocery shopping and cooking for the two of them. He officially retired from his last volunteer position at the age of 75 but is still active in his church and is considering taking another college course this summer!

On the way home from Vancouver, we stopped in Jasper for a visit with Mom’s sister who, at 86, is the youngest of the four. Widowed several years ago, she continues to live in her own home but she’s far from lonely! She has a wide circle of friends and is committed to staying both mentally and physically active. A hip replacement following a fall on an icy street a couple of winters ago hasn’t done much to slow her down. In fact, she’s planning on going hiking again this summer. She’s actively involved in seniors activities in Jasper and sometimes goes along on outings as a caregiver for someone younger than herself!

Yes, I come from stubborn and hardy stock and should be around for many years! Of course, I’m realistic enough to realize that I could be run over by a bus tomorrow, though in Sedgewick that’s highly unlikely! Having lost a daughter at 5 years of age and both my parents-in-law in their sixties, I realize that life isn’t always fair and good genes isn’t a guarantee of longevity but the odds are in my favour. More important than number of years, however, is what we choose to do with them. The legacy passed on to me by my parents and my aunts is not only one of long life but also one of living life to the fullest and that’s what I aim to do for as long as I continue drawing breaths!


2 thoughts on “Living long, living well

  1. Try this book:
    “You could live a long time: Are you ready?” by Lyndsay Green, Thomas Allen Publishers (Toronto) copyright 2010.
    She talked to many of the “young old” and the “old old.” They had definite views about adjusting to aging, including autonomy.

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