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Want to live longer? I've got some secrets

Woody Allen once said, “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work … I want to achieve it through not dying.”


Ponce de Leon sought the fountain of youth in Florida in 1521 and, in his pursuit, had his life cut short by Indian arrows. I still think the fountain of youth must be in Florida. I sure do see a lot of old people every time I go there.


Whether we accept it or not, none of us are going to live forever. But we keep living longer and longer, so just how long can we live?


Some scientists say 200 years.


The older I get the more important this living business gets. As Willard said, “If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” 


Of course, “old” is not as old as it used to be. Thinking back on how old I thought my teachers were embarrasses me now. Many of them were right out of college. 


So just how can we live longer?


When I need to know something, I go to Google. When I Googled “Ways to live longer,” I got quite a surprise. There are any number of ways to live longer. Evidently, you can just take your pick. 


Women live longer than men. If your parents lived a long life, chances are you will, too. Eccentrics live longer. Just look around and you’ll agree. 


Married people, monks, transhumanists, happy people, optimists, Christians, walkers, rich people, clever people, Noble Prize winners, Oscar winners, Libras, right-handed people, volunteers, giving people, pet owners, spiritual people, calm people, people who meditate, immigrants and people with friends live longer. 


Willard says married people don’t live longer, it just seems that way. 


People who sleep less and work more live longer, but then supposedly  people who sleep deeply do, too. Less stress gives you longevity. One website claims that overweight people live longer. Another says that lean people do. Yet another says starve yourself for longer life. Vegetarians live longer, yet worms live longer on a diet of chicken and steak. 


Mice live longest in an environment in which the temperature is a cool 36.5 degrees. Flies live longer if they can’t smell their food. Chocolate eaters live longer. If you don’t like chocolate, isotopes could make you live longer, too. 


If you go to church once a week, chances are you’ll live three years longer than those who don’t. 


Aspirin helps women live longer. One website says that active women with breast cancer live longer. If you reside in the highlands of Sardinia, chances are you’ll live longer. For some reason, high altitude is supposed to be conductive to long life, also. 


Soldiers, once they return to civilian life, live longer. The internet didn’t say anything about sailors. 


Wine drinkers may live four years longer than non-drinkers. 


If you have a good image of yourself, you may live seven and a half years longer than someone who doesn’t.


Mark Twain said he could live a month or two on a compliment. When Carolina wins, it seems that I could live forever. I would like to live long enough to see Carolina win a national championship. In football. 


Working with thirty-somethings (and in one case, a twenty-something) can make me feel my age sometimes. And the older I get, the more often people call me “young fellow.”


Every one of my mother’s side of the family has always hoped that we inherited grandpa’s genes. He lived into his 90s. I’ve tried to figure just what prolonged his life. He was pretty laid back, so I don’t think he let stress bother him. He made a little strawberry wine and took a sip of it now and then. He wouldn’t eat any dairy products. He always took a nap under an oak tree right after lunch (he called it dinner) before going back out into the field. And he loved to fox hunt. 


I’m hoping I’ve got his genes because, although I will take a nap, I surely don’t like wine and all you have to do is read the prior columns on ice cream to figure out the dairy product addiction. And, no, I don’t fox hunt, although I would be partial to some squirrel stew now and then. 


It seems to me that all you have to do to live longer is to (after a deep sleep or no sleep at all) take an aspirin, eat a bite of chocolate and some broccoli and volunteer to walk (cleverly, all the while meditating and telling yourself jokes) to church. It would also help if you swigged wine along the way.


Will Rogers once said, “Do the best you can and don’t take life too seriously.” That seems about as good a recipe for a long life as you could come up with. 


An 8-year-old girl went to her grandfather and asked, “Grandpa, what is couple sex?” 


The grandfather, surprised that she would ask such a question, decided however that if she was old enough to ask, she was old enough to get a straight answer. 


He proceeded to tell her about human reproduction and the joys and responsibilities that go along with it. 


When he finished, she looked up at him, eyes wide in amazement. 


“Well,” she replied, “Grandma says to tell you that dinner will be ready in a couple secs.”