Carpe diem, boys and girls, the end is nigh. I wrote this on the top of a column from the Globe and Mail by Margaret Wente, entitled, Why 65 isn't 60, with a subtitle that reads, No matter how positive your attitude, you can no longer escape the fact that the rest of your life is alarmingly short.
I am having several photocopies made, and I'm sending them to my buddies back east, many of whom have reached the big 6-5 - or are frighteningly close.
Ms. Wente makes a good point: when I turned 60, no matter the medical issues that had arisen in my life - cancer, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. - I still felt pretty darned good.
I was retired at 62, I was active, my diet included a lot of fruit and vegetables - although I ate too much in the latter half of the day and drank beer - and my stress levels were down.
But, come 65 and the arrival of my MSP gold card - the official notice that you are now a senior citizen - I started fixating more and more on how many years I had left; joking about, it in fact, and going on about the discounts and the carpet bowling.
Overall, life expectancy in Canada is 81.23 years - 78.69 for men and 83.91 for women - even better in British Columbia at 80 and 84.
I've got 15 more years, maybe less if you take into account some of the aforementioned medical issues. I'm good with that, as long as I can still do the things I am doing now and not be seated in front of the TV in some seniors' facility, drinking soup through a straw and trying to adjust my hearing aids.
Margaret says the lines between middle age and old age have blurred: we're living longer, working longer, people in their 80 and 90s are running marathons and having sex, 70 is the new 60, 60 is the new 50.
Developments in science and medicine and exercise physiology and nutrition have all contributed to this state of affairs.
It also helps if you come from a good gene pool - if mom and dad didn't sign off until they were into their 80s.
Mine didn't, unfortunately, but that doesn't mean I won't make it to 80, if I can keep my sugar levels down and my testosterone up.
The whole thing's a crapshoot anyway, I tell people.
You could get hit by a car tomorrow, or eat a bad piece of tomorrow, or eat a bad piece of meat, or get caught in crossfire during a robbery.
Whether or not you have "made something" of your life, may have a bearing as you watch the fluids drain into your arm.
If you've been a good citizen you may not resent the intrusion of the Grim Reaper.
Then again, if you've accomplished very little, based on whatever standards to which you hold yourself - not made a lot of money, written that novel, done that volunteer work - you may or may not welcome death when it appears at the foot of your bed.
Mental health is important, the absence of stress, the sound mind in the sound body, not to mention your general philosophy of life vis-a-vis materialism, success, your relationship to an all-knowing, all-forgiving deity, the presence of love, happiness, a dog.
So much impinges on the question of your longevity. That's why I don't think about it. That's why I retired early, that's why I go to bed with a good book in the middle of the day.
That's why I laugh and try to surround myself with people who like to laugh. It's good medicine, according to the 10-year-old Readers' Digest in the doctor's office.
I'm hoping my friends in Ontario will get a chuckle when they read Ms. Wente's column, maybe put down the obituary page and take the dog for a walk.
@ Copyright 2013