The idea of living forever might seem like a fairytale -- especially in the 1800’s, where the average life expectancy was 35 years. But now people are living up to 80 years of age. So how far can we expect this trend to continue? Some researchers say that there's a limit on how many years a human being can live, the maximum being 125. That is only a few years short of the longest documented human lifespan. Jeanne Calment of France (1875–1997) lived to the age of 122 years. Nobody lives forever, and most fear dying too early. If you do get blessed with longevity, you hope to avoid sickness and disease.
My goal is to be a centenarian. I want live to 100 with full vitality and vigor, have a huge party with all my community and family, and leave this world as painlessly as blowing out my birthday candles. As I approach 50, I’m thinking about my own mortality for the first time in my life. I’ve been pretty lucky so far. I’ve escaped major health crises, and besides a few hiccups, I’ve been pretty unscathed for almost 50 years. It became really apparent as I was considering a 30-year mortgage and started looking at the payoff date that would happen about the time I’ll be knocking on 80's door. It makes me wonder, Am I in my final season or has the party just started? Hey, 50 is the new 30, right? I feel young (most of the time). I think I look young and can still snowboard, do yoga, hike, bike, skateboard, and pretty much anything else I used to do in my 20’s.We’ve all heard the phrase, “enjoy these years, time goes by fast,” but I personally like what George Bernard Shaw said. “Youth is wasted on the young.”
I started reading all the stats and studies. First, I discovered blue zones, cities on earth where people live the longest. There are only five known blue zones with Okinawa, Japan having the world’s highest amount of proven centenarians followed by Sardinia, Italy, Loma Linda, California, Nicoya, Costa Rica, and Ikaria, Greece.There are different reasons for each zone as to why people live the longest there including genetics, low calorie diets, plant-based diets, protein-based diets, amount and speed of walking, hours of sleep, healthy habits, faith, social engagement, and positivity.
So if you are active and fit walk over a mile a day at a good pace, eat a healthy diet, don’t drink alcoholic beverages, don’t smoke, have a positive attitude, engage in close relationships, and if your direct family members have lived long lives, then you have a better chance of living a long life than most. However, most of the research has proven these reasons wrong. Most of the blue zone locations do not keep physical records of birthdates, so the ages are not accurate.
They also have yet to be affected by globalization, so they are exposed to refined sugar and other processed foods that greatly affects a person’s health. I could continue listing all the information I found and reveal a top 10 list of ways to live to 100. I discovered the only thing we know for sure is that it doesn’t hurt to be lucky and to be a woman since over 80 percent of all centenarians are female. There is no one way or right way that will guarantee us a long life. So why bother writing about it? Because there is a bigger picture in life – you can determine life by the number of years that is displayed on your tombstone or by how many years you felt like you actually lived.
Last year I watched one of my closest friends pass away from cancer. Being with him during his last few months I saw, in terms of life years, he expired way too soon. But in terms of living, I saw this man compress 100 years into a few months until his last breath. His mantra was“until the end, to the highest.” He did everything that way and took everyone close to him along for the ride. He gave his patients the highest level of care possible, his friends the highest level of excitement and friendship, and his wife the highest level of his energy and love. He showed me some of my best moments. He believed he was going to live, and I saw it - the possibility that he could overcome this obstacle. He did pass, but even on his last days he held nothing back. That is how he lived to 100.
Although I don’t know if I will make it to my goal, I know one thing for sure. The next 50 years will take me down some roads I haven’t traveled before. I won’t have a roadmap, so it will be my attitude that gets me there. If you desire to be one of the future centenarians, I hope you make it. But my last piece of advice to you is this: Don’t wait for it. Just make sure you are living it “to the highest".