Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

No Rehearsals for the Stage of Life

"Life expectancy is the number of years on average a person is expected to live based on their age, gender and country. The Global Burden of Disease calculates life expectancy by using a country's mortality rates across age groups."
"Life expectancy may vary for people of different ages because it is calculated as the number of years a person is expected to live given they have already reached a certain age."
"For example, a girl born in 2016 in Mexico is expected to live to age 79, however the life expectancy of a 65-year-old woman in Mexico in 2016 is 84. Her life expectancy is higher because she has already reached 65 and is therefore more likely to live another 20 years."
BBC News, Health Metrics and Evaluation

"Meditation urges you to focus on your breath. It's the same thing with remembering that you're mortal."
"You forget, so you need something strong, someone telling you straight out."
Hansa Bergwall, founder, WeCroak

"I think, 'oh my gosh, I can wash dishes with a smile, I can talk on the phone', knowing all the while that this life is not a dress rehearsal."
"It helps me enjoy the moment."
Karen Rosenberg, 50, Miami

"One should be free to use the rest of one's life as one chooses."
"If one chooses to kill oneself, then that's fair enough. I don't think anyone else should interfere."
David Goodall, 104-year-old Australian scientist
Dr. Goodall, a man with influence in the world of science lived a good life. After his retirement as a senior scientist with three doctorates working for an Australian science agency, he took up work as an honourary research associate in Perth at Edith Cowan University until he reached 102 years of age. The last two years of his life gave him no pleasure, he explained, because of his deteriorating health.

When he was no longer mobile, could no longer perform as an actor, and was unable to continue driving, he decided he had lived long enough. He travelled to Switzerland to take advantage of their laws permitting assisted suicide helped by an assisted-suicide advocacy group, Exit International.

He had fallen, living alone in his apartment and it was two days before he was discovered, in distress. "It was just the beginning of the end", said a friend. "I've lived quite a good life until recently", Dr. Goodall said in an interview. "The last year has been less satisfactory for me because I couldn't do things", he explained, before his voluntary death.

This was a man who had lived well and long. Others are less fortunate. Many seek the unknown formula that would serve to prolong life, and keep them healthy in the process. Some believe that they have discovered that formula, a kind of elixir of long-life. An American nutritionist, Clive McCay in the 1930s after feeding his laboratory rats a low-calorie diet concluded that though they were extremely thin they were active, looked healthy and two of them reached the equivalent of 130 years.

He felt compelled to lend himself to the experiment of emulating the rats' restrained diet, began eating very limited food grown on his own farm, and he too remained fit and trim. Until he had two strokes and lived to only 69. There are others, and quite a few who strive to find that elusive formula. Euell Gibbons thought he had, in his enthusiasm for wild foods that led him to advocate a plant-based diet. His enjoyed his own until he experienced an aortic aneurysm, and died at 64.

Nutritionists of note have been on record as promising great benefits to those who scrupulously maintained the diets they recommended. Nathan Pritikin's gospel was that of low-fat diets and like Dr. Robert Atkins who espoused a direct opposite regimen, both died at 69. Refined foods such as white bread were anathema to Adelle Davis. She lived to age 70 despite taking great care with her diet and encouraging others to do the same. She died of cancer.

It is not the easily led and the ignorant who desperately look for something that will guarantee them longevity. Take, for example, Valter Longo, director of the University of Southern California Longevity Institute, who seems convinced that the multiday fasts he swears by will extend his life. Some scientists in pursuit of anti-aging therapies take the diabetes drug metformin believing it has properties to protect cells from aging.

In the hopes that vitamin B might be a defence against aging, biochemist Charles Brenner drinks milk with high doses of nicotanamide riboside, a type of vitamin B. And then for a completely alternate diversion there is WeCroak, an app designed to alert anyone who downloads it, five times daily to their phone with messages such as: "Don't forget, you're going to die". If you don't care for that one, there are others: "The grave has no sunny corners." Or how about: "Begin again the story of your life."

So do we really need reminders that we're mortal? To help us appreciate the fact that we're not yet dead? To remind us that life is wonderful, even at those times when it doesn't appear to be? Does this mean that we're not capable of our own volition and appreciation of existence to look forward to each day and make the most of it? To immerse ourselves in the wonders of nature? To truly appreciate our relationships with those who mean much to us emotionally?

Does attitude to life and fulsome acknowledgement of how wonderful it is to be alive, to be sensitive to everything surrounding us, to love and to hold, to plan and to experiment, to be ourselves to the fullest of our abilities help at all? Many are convinced that those who value life and live with a positive attitude and expectations win half the battle; their genetic endowment, lifestyle and geographic location complete the other half.

Mind, we cannot escape bad fortune when it comes knocking.

But we can make the most of what we have, and with what we have groom ourselves to enjoy our lives and as we do, help others to do the same. Can't we! No magic required. The power of positive thinking, on the other hand....

Life expectancy calculator promo

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

()() Follow @rheytah Tweet