The "Slices of Life" column is written by Lisa Gibalerio
In perusing the news magazine that we subscribe to, I came across the following tidbit:
When 2,250 Americans were asked in a poll to pick an age they could live forever … the average person’s favorite age was 50.
Simple math tells me that some people must have picked ages younger than 50, while others chose older than 50. But, as a numerical average, I have to say, 50 struck me as, well, really old.
Sure, philosophically, I get that there is something to be said for maturity. As we age and life’s myriad experiences pile up, we gradually acquire not only knowledge, but, more importantly, wisdom. Most of us begin to clearly see the benefits of practicing kindness over righteousness, of listening more and talking less, and of forgiving powerfully. All of that stuff is golden, has immense value and takes a while – the better part of a lifetime – to develop.
But 50? No way.
If given the option to pick an age to magically live forever, I would select 30. If pushed, maybe 35.
Why not live forever before one’s hair begins to turn gray (or in some cases recede and/or fall out), before the need for bifocals, before bunions and before the persistently painful plantar fasciitis?
When I was 30, my feet did not ache on a daily basis. My blood cholesterol levels were in a good range, as was my weight. I had a cast-iron stomach and could drink more than one glass of wine without falling asleep. When I was 30, my gums were exceedingly healthy. In fact, a dentist once asked me if he could photograph my gums for use in a pamphlet extolling the benefits of flossing. I declined, but still, it was nice to have been asked.
A little over 15 years later, I was informed that I had developed periodontal disease and that my “periodontal pockets” had recently increased. This condition, I was advised, could lead to bone loss, which, if left untreated, could lead to tooth loss.
“Tooth loss?” I remember asking incredulously. “This can’t be true. I floss every night. I have model gums.”
“You’re older now,” my hygienist replied, ignoring my outrage. “Few people your age possess ‘model gums.’ Now, about those pockets ... ”
So, no, I would not, if given the option, choose 50. Give me eternal life at the age of 30 please, when a show that began at 10 p.m. was not way past my bedtime. When my short-term memory did not suffer constant glitches, such as: where did I put my keys, glasses, car, kids? When I did not struggle to recall the name of an acquaintance I’ve met five or six times.
Let me live forever when I could wear a cute pair of pumps without fear of ending up in traction. When scary preventive medical procedures did not loom ahead around every corner. (Colonoscopy anyone?) When I could encounter an ice patch without fearfully clutching the arms of total strangers. When I didn’t go to bed free of pain only to wake up with a sore shoulder/ankle/knee/neck. When I was stronger, leaner, and well, younger.
I’d happily forego a little wisdom and maturity to repossess the vim and vigor of my youth.