Huffington Blog DARE TO BE 100


December 19, 2017

The title of my first book written for Bantam in 1991 was “We live too short, and die too long.” It was a derivative of the old Pennsylvania Dutch saying “we come too soon oldt, und too late shmart’.

“The living too short” remark has become the centerpiece of my work. I steadfastly insist that a hundred healthy years is our birthright. The word abortion assaults us. Its mere mention provokes a shiver. It is always used in connection with a newborn, and politically it is so laden with emotion that street protests erupt. Abortion connotes “unlived life”. If so, cannot the term also be used at the end-of-life?

Living less long than we can and should is an abortion, by definition.

With such a perspective my attention was drawn to an Internet headline that read “number of Japanese centenarians hits record 67,824”. Their projection was a hundred thousand centenarians by the end of the year.

The US census data lag. In 2010 we had 53,000 centenarians. We project 214,000 by 2020 and 830,000 by 2050. Willard Scott would really have to hustle to keep up.

I insist that most of us die too soon. William James remarked that “we live lives inferior to ourselves.” But I am constantly reminded that, after all is said and done, it is not how old you are that matters, but rather how you are old.

Now, at almost 88 years of age, I have March 20, 2030 coming more clearly into focus. I continue to dare.

But only if my brain keeps step with the rest of me. When, if, it doesn’t, then scram.

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