10-4. Nonagenarian Notions: Longevity

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Turning 90 is one of the significant birthdays — like 30 for young women. Turning 90 gets attention. I’ve had personal experience with that and almost simultaneously, turned 90 and published my book about bridge. What I’ve discovered in doing publicity and book promotion is this: invariably people I contact are MORE intrigued by the fact that I’m 90 than by the topic of my book.

It used to frustrate me until I decided to just “go with the flow”–make turning 90 a selling point for promoting bridge. And so I added this Nonagenarian Notions section to my blog. Besides I needed a fourth topic–I like to keep those symbolic bridge numbers in my book and blog. Four, thirteen, fifty-two.

As to longevity, last year I heard of the 90+study being done at USC-Irvine and its need for participants who were still living on their own. And so I volunteered to be part of it. I am more and more mystified–how come I am so fit at this age? I really don’t think I’ve done all that much to deserve my good luck. It’s become an area I like to Google as a result of my participation in the 90+ study.

There’s so many studies.

One I came across figured out that for women you have the best chance of living longer if born in May or December. My birthday is March 14.

Then there’s the Longevity Pyramid from a new book, They Live Longer by Harry Mouratidis and Dr. George Price. The authors studied ten villages in four European countries–“pockets of youthful nonagenarians. . . . where living well past ninety is the rule, not the exception.”

Surprising to me, the least important commonality, at the very top of the Pyramid is genetic advantage. I’ve been giving credit to octogenarian parents and at least two nonagenarian grandparents for my good luck. Not so says this book.

The Pyramid gradually widens to include diet, the need for exercise and social interaction and location, location, location–selenium in the soil, minerals in the water, Madiran red wine in a village in France.

What surprised me, however, is the authors’ conclusion that “one single emotional factor appears to be very common” that distinguishes healthy aged from the rest “even more than diet, exercise, genetic predisposition or absence of stress. . . . “Being master of one’s own destiny.”

That bold emphasis is mine. The Longevity Pyramid, wisely modifies that to feeling  masters of their own destiny.” Be master of my own destiny? Don’t know if I want to even think that, it might be tempt fate to prove me wrong! Feel as if I am master of my own destiny? That I think I do.

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