What Does Longevity Mean?

My mother-in-law just turned 82 years old and shows no signs of slowing down. Talk about longevity. The medical community seems to think that women will live longer than men, but I think most males will tell you the term “longevity” has a different connotation to it. Certainly when I was 22, it meant something different all together. Although come to think of it, the meaning of longevity still means about the same thing to me at 46.

I wonder at what point society began to put such a premium on longevity. Maybe now we just have more time to think about our morality. An entire generation of baby boomers has grown up and retired, and all of a sudden they have time on their hands. I’m sure my wife’s perspective on longevity is based on outliving her husband. Me on the other hand – I can’t help but think that “longevity” has it’s foundation in everything that makes men uneasy.

Think about it: the root of the word is “long” and isn’t insecurityÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½strictly a male thing? Old school Latin term will tell you longevity means “long life” but I’m not fooled. I place the blame entirely on mass media. We’re inundated with imagery of “beautiful people.” You know, men and women who are always tanned, run in slow motion, and areÃ?¯Ã?¿Ã?½primed and ready at a moment’s notice. Gorgeous blondes bursting with talent and ability. Women who need a man who has no problems withâÂ?¦longevity.

Which brings me back to the present.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½The desire to be healthier and live longer with increased vitality has created a market for the “longevity center”. For the price of a new car you can go to one of these centers at least once a week . You can get poked and prodded and get years added on to your life. Call me a skeptic, but I’m not sure if a longevity center can add anything to your life. I’m sure they make someone’s bank account fatter. But financial longevity is not the issue here.

There’s no trick to longevity that I know of. I think somewhere along the line, destiny or fate or however you want to term it deals us a set of cards, and there’s no deterring from that hand once we start to play it. How often have we heard the phrase, “it’s in the cards?” I think a longer life, better sex and overall longevity is something we have no control of.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

I’m all for longevity no matter what form it comes in. For that reason I don’t smoke. I only drink at dinner and I work out three times a week. I stay away from fatty foods; I use triple-strength sun-block when I go to the beach. I listen to positive thinking audio tapes and CDs. And my wife tries to do the same. She spends twice as long shopping, because you never know what’s in the food we eat. She has eliminated all aerosol products from our home, because she feels guilty about destroying the ozone-layer. And she does Tae-bo twice a week, just so I understand she can kick my butt from here to Timbuktu. It dawned on me that we spend so much time being obsessed with the things that may negatively affect our longevity, that we see a lot less of each other. I’m not sure we even have fun any more. At the very least we have less time for fun. I’m not sure why. All I know is that if increasing my longevity is going to decrease the amount of fun in my life, then I’d rather be a lot less healthy. Anyone for a Big Mac?

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