Help Beyond the Hype by Robin Trimingham
I have been suggesting for some time now that it is quite possible to live to be 100 years old but I was never sure exactly how many people were taking me seriously. That changed this week when I started seeing articles about living to the age of 100 all over the internet.
On the one hand, it’s nice to see that my quirky notion has hit mainstream, but it’s a little worrisome to see the outrageous ways in which this campaign is taking shape.
One article I read seriously inferred that all one needed to do was find sneaky ways to add beans to every meal and you could greatly increase your chances of becoming a centenarian; another recommended drinking four cups of coffee a day on the basis that coffee is rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties, and a third suggested that all you had to do was stop worrying about things.
While I agree that these recommendations have merit in that they are likely to improve your physical and mental wellbeing, making it easier to stay healthy long enough to complete 100 orbits around the sun, I believe that the human species has evolved to the point that it is feasible to live with “the intention” of making it to the age of 100.
And, believe it or not, statistics are starting to appear to support my hunch. In Japan, for example, there are currently 60,000 people over the age of 100 and this number is on the rise; and in the UK the Office of National Statistics reports that the number of people over the age of 100 has quadrupled over the last two decades and shows no signs of leveling off.
There is also a copious amount of information online to assist you in your quest. Google “live to be 100” and about 167 million results will be right at your fingertips including an article that I penned in January 2016 in which I considered what sort of dwelling I might need if I lived that long.
Since this time my thinking on the subject has evolved to the point that I now see that the best way to live to extreme old age is to actually make a comprehensive life plan to do just that.
This is not to be confused with simply being happy-go-lucky or having a whimsical notion that it would be fun to live to be 100; this plan making is serious stuff.
You need to consider all aspects of your life over a great expanse of time including: physical health, finances, work, living accommodation, companionship, pastimes, personal development, spiritual nourishment, and mental wellbeing. You need a mixture of sustainable activities and interests that are mentally challenging, constantly evolving, satisfying, and not too strenuous so that you have a reason to look forward to getting out of bed every day for a very long time.
You also need guts, self-reliance, self-belief, and a weird mixture of positivity, realism, and optimism because you are going to have to be prepared to stand your ground without getting upset when people around you are doing things to damage their bodies and be prepared to care for yourself for long stretches of time when people who have been important to you fall out of your life and their replacements have not yet emerged. You also need to be willing to care about (and care for) the people who do show up in your life without judgement if you don’t want to make the whole journey alone.
Is that all there is to it? I am sure that it isn’t, but I am reasonably confident that it’s a good start. I’ll get back to you on this in time (g)
By Robin Trimingham