Holy Methuselah! How in the hell did I do it? Despite Navy service in two wars, fast driving, sloe gin and other life-shortening choices, I’ve made it to really advanced old age.
Add to my wonderment at this moment, a still-vivid memory is as a kid in 1940 watching a downtown parade of Civil War veterans. Boy, were those guys old! They had fought in a war way back in 1865, 75 years ago!
This year will mark the 75th anniversary since the attack on Pearl Harbor that started World War 2. My 19-year-old brother was at Army recruiting the next morning. I was 16 and could hardly wait another year before I joined the Navy.
So, how did I manage to hang around this long? My dad died at age 35 of a disease that could have been cured today with antibiotics. My mom and siblings all made it into their 90s, so maybe genetics is a factor. Of course, much of living a long time is luck, and surviving such human frailty hazards as stupid habits, daily dangers and wars.
For whatever it may be worth to younger readers who ask how the hell did I do it, I offer some thoughts. Important in my advanced old age is that I continue to exercise daily for at least an hour, usually with hikes and pool lane swims.
When I retired at 65, there were almost 200 pounds of blubber on my 5’8” frame, caused by a four-decade, butt-in-office-chair, overeating career. As soon as I was free, I began the serious exercise routine, and cut way back on calories. I’ve weighed 145 for the past 25 retirement years. I was never stupid enough to get hooked on cigarettes, so breaking that suicidal addiction wasn’t necessary.
I believe daily mental exercise is just as important as physical effort. I avidly follow the news daily, currently hating both major presidential candidates with equal vigor. Out on the street twice every day, shooting photos and getting ideas for the three daily blogs I write, illustrate and post. Because TV is now 90% obnoxiously repeated commercials and moronic talk shows, I read recorded books with my ears for an hour nightly before getting eight hours of sleep.
Of course, I’m thankful to whatever heavenly powers there may be for a hell of a lot of good luck in making it to year 91!