Saturday, July 18, 2009

Living past 100!

"....The first thing I want to tell you is that no matter your age now, you will be old, you will be infirm, you will have fewer resources than you have now, and you cannot avoid that state."

We started our conversation knowing that our life is a limited one. Today, the oldest man died at 113. Count your days ahead. If I live that long, I still have another sixty years ahead. A lifetime in my father's days. I have not planned that far.

I read somewhere that we should live as though we'd die tomorrow; and we should plan to live to 100. And planning is a noble, and human activity. Animals plan too. Squirrels,bear, salmon, plan to fulfill their potential, to live and procreate, each according to their basic nature. Animals may dream too. If you study bees, they plan to support the hive until the bitter end.

We plan for some things quite well. We plan our financial future-except during this economic meltdown. We plan our children's future. WE even plan our recreational and social activities. Most of you who have retired are enjoying good health and relative freedom to do all the activities you enjoy. Those who didn't plan and consumed more than they made have no one to blame. Of course, there are exceptions for those who have been struck by debilitating illnesses, and other circumstances beyond their abilities to control, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, famine, pestilence, war.

Our ignorance, our naivete, and our own inability to accept responsibilities have played major roles in our life course. We didn't get ice-cream for breakfast from our parents, how can we justify poor eating habits now they we are adults?

We don't do so well planning the future of our communities. We stay wrapped in our own problems, fail to stay involved. We live with blinders on: as long as a problem doesn't touch us now, who cares?

"I don't have children in school, why do I have to pay school taxes?"

In the traditions of many native tribes here in America, decisions and planning were made with an eye to future generations. Seven generations, to be exact. In seven generations, all of our children would be related to all of your children.

So, today, our conversation should be about planning to live to 113; and to support the efforts of seven generations hence.

p.s. The folks above are my daughter Pia and her husband Jason, and his folks during the weekend of the 4th, plus my hubby. When we get together, we share music and merry making. I was taking the pictures.


Brian Miller said...

great post! our view sees limited to today at times. what we will do that will give us the greatest benefit now, no matter the consequences tomorrow. sure at the pace teh world spins things will be different in a couple years, an easy excuse to support our poilicies of today. but hopefully there will be sons and daughters around that will wish we had thought differently. very thought provoking today. thank you.

Cynthia said...

Yes, I appreciate you last several post. Somehow, I got behind. Congratulations on the Post of the Day Award, I think David's judgment is excellent (and Braja's too).

It is excellent advice to let your family know what your wishes are in various medical cases.

I'm still perplexed about the wildlife rules in Oregon. I have come across many injured animals on the road here in Puerto Rico and it just breaks my heart. I usually pull over and stay with the animal until it dies (unless it might be saved by more active care).
I tend to support the legality of euthanasia in terminal cases but why in the one you mention did the wife have to go to? I think depression and/or fear impacts a decision like hers.

About the responsibility to the next 7 generations, I couldn't agree more. We should learn how to think in this way so that we can pass on this philosophy of sustainable living to our children.

I'm not really a good planner for the future, but at least I try to live a healthy life. If I live to 100, I hope it is with good health and I'm half way there. Maybe there will come a time when 113 doesn't seem overly imaginative.

I wonder what I could do differently?
Thanks for stimulating these questions. (Also, for your lively presence at (OWL) blog.)

pink dogwood said...

113? - wow - it would be cool to make it to triple digits :)

Nancy said...

It has always really irritated me that people retire and refuse to vote for school bonds. How do they think their children were educated? So small minded and short sighted.

We are looking at a commune! Yep, our daughters are interested and some of their friends are planning a shared-resource lifestyle, so why not? One of the things we talked about in my classes on Aging was this concept. So I'm thinking of seriously researching this line of thinking.

Maggie May said...

I would hate to live so long that all my relatives, children & friends had gone before me. let's face it........ if anyone lives till they are 113 then EVERYONE will have died before them except grandchildren perhaps.

Pyzahn said...

I wish I could get you to convince my aunt she needs to be more proactive. She 85, lives alone and refuses to recognize how frail she is, how forgetful.

All we've asked is that she get one of those emergency necklaces so that she can call for help if she needs it. I don't understand why she won't do at least this much for herself.

Please, if I'm that stubborn when I'm her age, you have permission to remind of this comment.

Thanks for getting the conversation going.

Natalie said...

Great post, Rosaria.Always an interesting and thought provoking read at your place.I enjoyed your family pics too!xx♥

Hit 40 said...

Life is very short. I am trying to get in as many trips as possible before I can not do stairs very well.

I went to Williamsburg last weekend. Lots of steps and dirt paths. A wheelchair would not have made it to very many places.

Fire Byrd said...

The gentleman that died was Henry Allingham, the oldest survivor of WWI. He attended many Rememberance day parades well up into his last few years of life.

Snowbrush said...

Is it me, or does your blog have a new look?

"I read somewhere that we should live as though we'd die tomorrow; and we should plan to live to 100."

Well, I hope you can make sense of this. If I KNEW one or the other to be true, I would live my life very differently according to which one it was.

Ribbon said...

I love it that you share music.

Planning is good as long as we are prepared to let go of our dreams... sometimes we can get too attatched to our desired outcomes that we forget to enjoy the moment and loose the art of being able to adapt.

Numbers are good, but quality will mostly outweigh quantity. One crisp apple is much more desired than a barrel of rotten ones.
Though if you're able to adapt you could view the rotten barrel as something to transform.

The only thing our age really tells any of us is how long we've been on the planet and that's about it.

Enjoying these posts.

best wishes always

Lori ann said...

I agree with the Native American tradition. And also with Ribbon, if we have health and quality (and that is personal to each of us)that is what matters most.

Your posts and comments are always so interesting.

The Redhead Riter said...

Stopping by to give a little blog ♥

Too many people live just for NOW without any thought of the future. That is part of why they are so critical. They too WILL AGE and it is better if you age with a bunch of people you treated right all your life.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"I don't have children in school, why do I have to pay school taxes?"

My 83 year old mother often talks of how short-sighted this view handicaps many. How those in school now will be the ones running the world soon. We will need them to be well educated.

Living for today and planning for a 100. Difficult task. And your pictures? My kids and the ones to come will never know what I look like. I'm always taking the pictures. Sometimes that suits me fine. Please know your posts are read completely and appreciated.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Wonderful post - my dad would have approved of your foresight! :-) It's always so easy to forget about planning for tomorrow, to just live in the moment, but that, while it has it's positives has its downside too.
A very thoughtful post, thanks!

Beth said...

I read about the 113 year old guy and I have read about people complaining of paying taxes when they don't have children in school. Fortunately, I've never met anyone who didn't feel it was our obligation to continue to support education for future generations.

You've really got me thinking. I am on target to retire at 60 (18 more years in administration?! Ack!) but God willing, I may need to plan to continue working - maybe in another field.

Kate said...

I couldn't agree with you more. I am an educator and believe if we put more money into schools then we would have to put less money into prisons. The children are our future. However, there are so many other parts of society that need our support as well. Last winter I heard on the news that a retired vet owed a couple thousand to the electric company so they shut off his heat (IN THE MIDDLE OF A MINNESOTA WINTER). And he froze to death, it's just shameful. Thanks for the reminder.

Renee said...

Pia is just beautiful. What a gorgeous girl.

Dear friend, how I love you. I look up to you as well.

Love Renee xoxo

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

thanks for commenting on my blog today. I found the photo on another blog , it was posted as a room that had gone way wrong...I however thought it had some charm as was not near as bad as they were making it out to be...however, I stood alone! wanted to know what my readers would think of it. thanks again.

Susan said...

So timely - I was just reading about the 113 year old that died. Good thoughts, Rosaria.

Janna Qualman said...

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog Something She Wrote. I liked your added thought. :)

The main character in my current WIP is of a "more experienced" age, and she would certainly appreciate the wisdom you offer here. Thanks for sharing your journey.

Louise said...

At the tender age of 45, it's hard to imagine living half as much again, or even doubling my age. But, even at my tender age, I think I understand the need to get people to think as a community and to see how vital continuity is. If kids aren't educated, they won't be fit to produce the kind of wealth needed to support the ageing population...or, indeed, the kind of e.g. medical skill needed to keep the population ageing...

Debbie said...

I love this! And I get so frustrated when older people don't want to support the schools. No foresight.

karen said...

Hi Rosaria, interesting posts on growing older. I don't seem to be able to plan more than one day ahead at the moment! 113 years - that is a grand old age! Lovely photos of the family, as ever.. :)

Woman in a Window said...

I think you're right, in part. I do think we need to plan more for our in generations, our earth, our home, but I think too we are so consumed with planning, controlling, stomping order into what should be more organic that we lose sight of life often. With our kids, for example, too much structure. For our lives, too much insurance. For our own futures, too many rigid expectations. Somehow we need to marry thoughfulness with actually embracing that which is passing us by now. the end. erin are you mad at me? i so know you aren't. (I liked that you were feisty saying I don't know you either on a recent post. Like that. We're all a surprise.)

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh dear. My mother did used to give us ice cream for breakfast, so maybe she's to blame for my complete inability to make money, let alone save any. I have lived every year as if it were my last, i.e. I've never worked as much as I "should" - and I believe that accounts for my incredibly great health.

I'm such a weird bird, Rosaria - I don't want to retire because I love my work and the life I live now. If I didn't have my work I assume I would become depressed almost instantly.

Live to 113? I am not interested in that. When I can no longer work, I would like to check out at that point.

Yes I know - I am completely off the grid in terms of weirdness. I apologize!

lakeviewer said...

Hi folks, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

These subjects are as irky as religion and politics, hard to avoid. Talking about them can be painful.

No matter what we say, our opinions are not complete. The statements are bits and pieces, photographs of attitudes that may not have much to do with how we live day to day.

We have sets of beliefs that are hard to implement. Most people know that flossing removes more particles than just brushing. But, most people put that off until they begin to have trouble with their teeth and the dental bills add up.

We are riddled with complex beliefs, knowledge and habits and urges that don't integrate well.

We are still experimenting on how to do all the things we want, all the things we enjoy and not suffer any consequences.

Creative folks will argue that living should be more intuitive, less about planning and more about enjoying every moment.

There is a tension in most of us too. Our training might have emphasized one aspect; our families the other.

A good life is about finding a balance between work and play; between spending and saving; between doing homework and playing video games.

How else can we explain the concepts we created, concepts like paradise, heaven, hell, angels and demons? How else do we explain concepts like conservative and liberal? Good or Bad?

Exploring how to live well is about taking responsibility for our own happiness, or our own damnation. It is about making choices.

Those who live well in their old age have many things in common:

1. they have good health and good eating habits.

2. they have little stress.

3. they have a good family life.

4. they are passionate about their work.

5. they have religious beliefs and faith.

Snowbrush said...

You didn't know I lived in Oregon? I never knew that you never knew, or I would have told you!

Rose Marie Raccioppi said...

You most certainly created an ongoing dialogue! WELL DONE!

I appreciate both your post and comments. Reflection, appraisal, understanding, redefined direction, found purpose, faith, gratitude and praise add up to a total of joyful days.

As a 26 year survivor of cancer - I have faced death - and decided to fully face life - each day a new birth - new challenge - new meaning. A gift of time eternal.

APOGEE Poet - a chosen name - a defined purpose...

marc aurel said...

Seven generations. Now that is impressive. A major in the Swiss army told me that, when they built the railway station in Lausanne, they built it for, I think, sixteen tracks, although, at the time, they only strictly needed two. That, he told me proudly was Swiss planning.
My son just told me with great delight that ants farm aphids.

Lizzy Frizzfrock said...

Great post Rosaria! No matter how well one plans life seems to get in the way. Having said that it is important to plan. As you reminded me things were going well with my retirement until the economic meltdown. Hopefully we will recover. As for future generations... if we don't do everything in our power, such as paying school taxes, we will be the ones who suffer in the end. It takes a village... to make society work. We look after the young (even if we don't know them) and they will look after us in the future (even if they don't know us) by keeping the economy and society solid.

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

If you don't plan , you don't get! Some people just acquire the most awful habits in life and wonder what went wrong!!!
All the more so, as we age, we need to look into what lies ahead and be more prepared:)
Me, I wanna be FIT and HAPPY!

fiftyodd said...

Wow, what a popular blog! Great thought-provoking posts. I find them very helpful as I am getting towards that mystical time of 'retirement'. My parents were both long-lived, my mom died at 90 and my dad is 93 and going, many ailments, almost blind and almost deaf, but he still lives in his own home, next door to my brother and his wife. THis is perhaps the greatest blessing. He has carers who come in twice a day to help him shower and dress/undress and he can work the microwave to get his lunch every day. WE do all certainly have to plan to be 100.