Sherry Young: If you knew you'd live to be 100, how would you change your life?

Published: Thursday, Nov. 7 2013 3:40 p.m. MST

If our fate is living to 100, it is never too late to start working on our minds and bodies to prepare for it.

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Leaning on some books on a shelf above my computer sits a pumpkin-colored, 5-by-8-inch card. In bright white lettering are the words, “If you knew you’d live to be 100, how would you change your life?”

The card arrived in the mailbox ages ago mixed in with the junk mail. On the flip side it advertises a book by Dr. Eric Plasker, one I have never read and possibly never will, unless like the card it shows up in my mailbox.

At the bottom of the card there is a quote by Dr. Barbara De Angelis declaring, “Dr. Plasker ensures that your best years are yet to come!”

The graphics on the card appealed to me probably more than the content of the question. Seriously, who really wants to live to be 100 unless they have certain criteria for living? These would be blessings like a functional mind, a working body and a person or two who still cares about us.

When I was younger, the idea of being long-lived had more appeal to me than it currently does. I think I received the card when I was at least six years younger. In that quick seeming six years, reality is I feel my aching joints more. One hundred is more than 25 years away — a lot of time to get even creakier.

The possible good the statement makes is for one to start thinking about one’s lifestyle and make some changes even though we may think it's too little too late.

Our genetics play a part in our longevity, but the prevailing thought at the present time is genetics is only around 30 percent of the whole. The other 70 percent is life choices.

In an article written by Sally Wadyka for Real Simple magazine, “Live Long and Prosper," researchers Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin determined that people who were caring and thoughtful thrived. They found that "the unconscientious subjects, though bright, were more likely to grow up and have poor marriages, smoke, drink, and be relatively unsuccessful at work and die at younger ages.”

Friedman said, “See, your mom was right: If you want to win at the game of life, it really does pay to be nice.”

I asked some good friends how they felt about living to 100. They all felt certain positive traits help us as we age whether it gets us to the big 100 or not.

Among those mentioned were staying active mentally and physically, developing a positive perspective, alleviating stress, getting regular checkups, letting go of grudges and planning outings with good friends.

I must be showing some signs of slowing or was it just to get me out of a rut because my daughter-in-law sent me a book “You Can Do It!” It is “The merit badge handbook for grown-up girls” by Lauren Grandcolas. I chuckle whenever I look at the cover challenging “Dare to dream, learn something new, do something just for you!”

Am I getting a message here?

Who me? The woman who just hopes her joints will still be operating well once she finally gets out of bed each morning.

Inside the book there are 60 segments written by different motivational women. Once you challenge yourself and complete the challenge, the reward is a merit badge in the back of the book that pertains to the challenge.

My thinking is whether I actually do earn the merit badges, just reading about these remarkable women will be positive and enlightening.

All the statements with exclamation marks make me smile. “Your best years are yet to come!" "You can do it!" "Dare to dream!" "Learn something new!" "Do something just for you!”

Looks like it’s never too late to do some positive changing just in case the 100 years is our fate — or our curse.

Email: sasy273@gmail.com

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