Jan

10

How To Live, from Easan Katir

January 10, 2010 |

Dan BuettnerI enjoyed this TED talk on longevity from Dan Buettner.

Jeff Watson writes:

I also enjoyed Buettner's talk very much. Although I find it difficult to accept the premise that doing X can add 4.7 or whatever years to your life, he does present many good ideas for living a full life. I am blessed with ancestors who have the longevity gene. My grandfather on my dad's side lived to 104 and my dad's mother was a spry 96 when she died. My mother's parents died at 98 and 97. All lived full, complete lives until the last months of their lives.

My 104 year old grandfather summed up his longevity by telling me that the reason he lived so long was because he spent at least five hours a day outside doing yard work. He never worried about diet, and drank 3- 4 highballs a night and smoked Pall Mall non filters from the age nine onwards. His diet consisted mainly of meat and potatoes, and he made sure that he went to the office everyday for a few hours until he was 102.5 years old. He was a reader, and he constantly wrote letters to the editor until he was well over a hundred. A chronic list-maker, he wrote me a blueprint for living a full life that I have done my best to follow. His wife, my grandmother, was healthy until the day she died of a choking accident while raiding the refrigerator after a Thanksgiving fest. She made holiday dinners for over 20 people every year until that fateful Thanksgiving. My mom's parents both smoked and drank, but ate a Mediterranean diet, which might have helped. They were also very active, well into their mid 90s. They were into intellectual development, and didn't exercise much except for yard work and cleaning. My father is 81 years old and is a 10 year lung cancer survivor. He also has a case of MS, but doesn't let that get in his way. He still golfs 18 holes at least five days a week, preferring not to use a cart but to walk. He fishes, maintains the outside of the house, and keeps it looking like a showplace. He still keeps his hand in several businesses, despite being retired. He has had many serious medical problems, but like the Energizer Bunny, "Keeps On Ticking." I suspect that he will give his dad a run for the money as far as longevity.

I'm 53 and still surf and skateboard and play many other sports. Despite my medical issues, I have no plans on giving up, and I certainly don't plan on ever retiring, despite the fact that I could quit tomorrow and live my life in comfort. All of this leads me to the conclusion that the best way to live to be 100 is to win the genetic lottery, stay active, and forget about getting old. Another common thread with my relatives is that they don't associate with other old people, preferring to be with younger people. Living in Florida, it is easy to get sucked into the Senior Citizen treadmill, and that is certain death.

Jeff Watson, surfer, speculator, poker player and art connoisseur, blogs as MasterOfTheUniverse.

George Parkanyi comments:

One thing that drives me nuts is people who do nothing but talk about the medications they are on. I hope I never become that unbearably boring. I empathize with people that are ill, and I get it, pretty much right away, but unless you’re suffering and in distress and need medical attention or comfort at that moment, obsessing over the things that are keeping you alive doesn’t leave much for the actual living, and nobody is really interested.

George Parkanyi, Canadian telecom entrepreneur and ETF trader, blogs at StockAdventures.


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  1. Leon Mayeri on January 11, 2010 12:16 am

    I agree with Jeff’s genetic-specific premise, although as a society we seem to be inundated with breakthrough revelations regarding diet and exercise. Jack La Lane, well into his nineties, is living proof of diet and fitness. He’ll scream at you if you eat McDonalds, donuts, candy bars and soda pop. But what about all the “healthy” food bars out there? Fortunes have been made with the Cliff Bar empire, but I really can’t tell the difference between one of those sweet concoctions and other variations produced during more innocent times of slide-rule technology.

    Joe Jackson sings “everything gives you cancer; there’s no cure, there’s no answer,” yet Julia Ross, in her marvelous work “The Mood Cure” cites daily intake of specific amino acids as the key to a happy, healthy life. Daniel Amen makes a strong case for multiplying an intensive preponderance of multiple orgasms. The list is endless.

    Unless, of course, we look at our own genes. My father, born in 1898 in the “old country”, lived a full life until his death in 1995, in modern America. My son was born in 2002, 104 years after my dad. I’m somewhere in the middle, and the three of us each contributed to birth records in the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries.

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