Not being a mother and no longer being a wife, I have no desire to live to be 100 years old.
However, I reserve the right to change my mind at 99 11/12 years of age IF I’m still a source of helpful income to care-full people. If not, I’m a member of Dying with Dignity though I still have to complete the paperwork. The paperwork requires me to name people who are willing to be the decision makers if I have become unable to make my own decisions.
I have no idea who I could possibly ask to take on that responsibility.
Here’s what has me thinking about this:
In an e-zine article, “Aging Gracefully – How To Live To Be 100”, Dr. Andrew Weil reported that living to be 100 years old doesn’t mean “that particular foods, supplements or other substances have anything to do with our living to extreme old age.”
The article says, “[Dr. Weil] contends that strong family ties, healthy food (but no one, specific food) and lifelong physical activity…” are the primary factors for longevity.
Reading this, I felt quite righteous – I score two out of three. I eat good food, take supplements, exercise faithfully and spend time with good friends whenever possible – catching them for a hike as my visit-of-choice.
But does all that make up for “strong family ties”? Ha! How does an older aunt who lives on an inconvenient island, who doesn’t have the means to ply nieces and nephews with meaningful gifts and who is a “sister of great-grandpa” – become a person of any interest to the younger generation?
Strong family ties…can this mean the family I’ve created in the absence of blood family? My blood family and I don’t live in close proximity. They don’t call me to join all their various family gatherings. I am not “mom”. I am not “grandma”. I am an aunt who declines invitations due to impassable roads (Islands don’t have normal road service) or because a pet needs meds 2, sometimes 3, times a day. Does that make me worthy of being judged out of strong family ties? Apparently.
Strong family ties…Friends moan over their obligations to family. I’ve never felt obligated. We were raised to do what we needed most to do. I headed home to Mom and Dad with great anticipation. When a brother or sister invited me to their home and I was free to go, I was over the moon. So I ask friends about it. They feel they have no choice. Does this mean the strong ties are actually a choke-hold? Who dictates these laws – besides our conscience?
Strong family ties…I’ve listened to people confess re putting themselves under unreasonable financial strain in order to fulfill the “togetherness” quotas. If a family is that close and that loving, do they help each other out?
Makes me wonder how many years are peeled off my 100 years due to my questionable foul-weather family ties. This kind of tie means we will be in touch very quickly if one of us is in trouble.
Oddly enough, this subject keeps coming up. My antennae seem to be in receive mode. I listened to a radio report about a woman in Mexico who celebrated her 127th birthday.
When she was asked her secret for longevity, her strong voice responded without hesitation. “No se casan”…”stay away from marriage.”
Okay, but will I really be able to light 127 candles on any tiny “auntie” cupcake all by myself?