Another year has wound down and you might be thinking all you have for it is another age spot. But medical science is at it again, this time filling retirees with the crazy idea that many of us living today could live to be 100 years old or more (without even giving us a chance to get a second opinion).
According to a recent federal health study in the United States, the number of Americans age 100 and older still living today is up by 44 percent since 2000. This means you and I have a pretty high chance of becoming a centenarian. It wasn’t that long ago when our stooped, asthmatic Victorian forbears seldom lived past age 40. (And who could blame them, given the lack of indoor plumbing?) And what about Australopithecus? If he made it to 23, the pandemonium on the savanna would go on for weeks.
The real question is: How do you know if you’re going to live to be 100. You’re following the standards set by Darwin’s turtles as you move to your 100s: Eating organic mushrooms and other things you find only on the forest floor; keep a slow, steady course, never make a sudden move; and duck inside at the first sign of danger. I think Darwin also wrote a treatise on the turtles’ clever practice of never leaving their housing at all. (Don’t quote me on this.)
The answer might be with the companies advertising all over TV that will trace your ancestry. Or the other companies that will analyze your DNA and track it thousands of years back to the time when females began domesticating males.
A cousin of mine, who should otherwise have been looking for a steady job, did one of these family tree researches and sent me a copy of the results – fleshing in a many-peopled Tasca ancestry back to its ancient roots. The thing about the ancestry tree that caught my attention were the ages of my known and unknown kin when they passed on. I couldn’t help but notice that Uncle Rodrigo, whom I have been told was an insomniac like me, died at age 62 (If his insomnia was as bad as mine, he’s probably still awake in the cemetery listening to people at his grave saying, “He would have loved this view of the creek.” So that was a first clue.