It’s a sign of the (aging) times. Laurel used to read Cosmopolitan, and I would enjoy taking the infamous Cosmo quizzes, though often a bit of gender-bending was needed: “The hunky guy sitting next to you at the bar brushes his hand against your thigh. You’re not sure if it was an accident or on purpose, but you liked it. Do you …(A) …(B) …(C) …(D).”
Hmmmm. It would take me a while to get the picture of a hunky guy stroking my thigh out of my mind, but once I did, and reinserted an image of Angelina Jolie, say, I’d zip through the quiz and learn how I rated on the Hunk Attraction scale
Now, sigh, I tear open the TIME magazine issue that came yesterday, all excited by the cover story: “How to Live to Be 100 (and not regret it).” What are my chances? Am I doing the right things? Does some nostrum need to be added to our already over-crowded supplement shelf?
A side-bar quiz immediately caught my eye, which I will repeat below for those who are too busy dealing with their depression, laying around on the couch watching mindless TV, eating high-calorie fast food, and smoking to go out and buy TIME. Which isn’t a bad play on words, because if you’re doing those things, you aren’t going to like your longevity score.
“How long will you live? An average person living in an industrialized nation has the genetic makeup and environment to enable him or her to live to the age of 87. Instructions: Start with 87 years. Depending on your answers to the questions below, add or subtract the appropriate number of years.
Attitude: Are you optimistic? Do you generally approach life with good humor? Are you able to let go of things that are stressful? If no, subtract five years.
Genes: Do you have at least some family members who have lived into their 90s or later? Exceptional longevity runs strongly in families. If yes, add 10 years.
Exercise: Do you set aside at least 30 minutes a day, three days a week to exercise? Muscle-building exercises are particularly important. If no, subtract five years.
Interests: Do you do things that are challenging to your brain regularly? It’s important to take on activities that are novel and complex. If yes, add five years.
Nutrition: Do you have a diet that keeps you lean? Carrying extra weight is not conducive to longevity. If no, subtract seven years.
Get rid of smoking: Do you smoke? If yes, subtract five years.”
I learned that I’ll live to 92. Guaranteed, I can only hope. My sole shortcoming was the 10 year genetic bonus. I’ve got my sister, who is more knowledgeable about our family genealogy than I am, working on finding some over 90 relatives. Already she’s come up with a great-uncle who died at 92.
Oops, I just realized that this is my projected age of death, so does this help me or hurt me? Or is it a wash? Not wanting to fall into the minus-five year attitude trap, I’ll be optimistic and expect that even one over-90 relative spurs me on the way to centenarian status.
Of course, this presumes that we’ll survive our trip to Indiana that begins tomorrow (may be some weblog gaps, depending on whether Indiana has available Internet service in addition to corn). Well, if I die in a plane crash or choke on a corn cob, at least this posting will achieve a certain blogosphere notoriety.