Ask people who wants to be a millionaire? Nearly all hands rise.
Ask who wants to live to 100 and you also get lots of hands.
Yet, living to 100 is not as easy as heating dinner in the microwave or applying wrinkle cream. More women than men make the goal, probably because men spend so much time yelling at kids to “Get off my lawn!”
The secret, I’m told, is good genes and a super-positive attitude. But there are no guarantees. My granddad — he yelled “Get off my lawn!” a lot, rolled his own cigarettes from Prince Albert in a can, ate eggs and bacon every breakfast and got his cream straight from the cow — lived to be 99 years; and one day, while my dad, the kindest, nicest drill sergeant ever, caught a blood cancer and lived to just 70.
A survey of folks revealed living to 100 requires exercise and a love of working out, which eliminates most of us. I happen to be an exercise nut. I have bicycled for years and just took up walking and jogging. Kinder observers say when I jog I look as if I am riding an invisible bicycle.
Nutrition is also important. Those of us who grew up in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s remember a time before boxed dinners bought in freezer compartments of grocery stores and people eating at restaurants 19 times a week. We were served stuff like gizzard casserole, cow tongue and fried lamb liver and expected to clean our plates.
“Kids are starving in Africa,” our parents said.
Then, we’d get turnip greens and pig brains for dessert.
Other things to remember to reach 100 are health of teeth and gums. Yes, you need to floss an hour a day and brush until you get toothbrush elbow. And don’t forget the water pick and regular visits to your root canal specialist.
Other pals suggest that to reach 100 you need to be a tea lover, skip soda pop, eat purple food, limit consumption of cheeseburgers, have no housekeeper, have strong legs, embrace challenges and be the life of the party.
That sealed the deal for me. I am a lifelong wallflower. When I go to parties, I have conversations with plants.
Friends said people in Sardinia and Okinawa are known to live a long time because they gave up all the things that make you want to live to 100.
They said you’ll live longer if you keep up with technology. That made me even more depressed, because the technology bus has run me over, backed up and run me over again.
I have several years left to work. Every day, I pray some good Samaritan will help me through a technological crisis without my pulling the few remaining hairs on my head out. Sometimes even the helpers get aggravated, but they are smart enough not to pull out their own hair.
A few years ago, at work, we turned in time sheets on paper and did the same applying for health insurance. Now it is all done online with me swimming in a sea of uncertainty.
I am not trying to reach 100. I am happy with each new day of computer torment. Each new year of online madness.
But I do want a chance to travel in retirement to Sardinia and see what 100 looks like.
Being a hypochondriac doesn’t help in my quest for longevity. Every time I get a zit — yes, people in their 60s get them — I think it’s a tumor.
When I see my doctor, I ask about this. He says I see you’ve been consulting WebMD again, which has a lot about zits but nothing about Sardinia.
That’s the problem with online — I have just enough knowledge to get myself into trouble. When the computer freezes, I think I am having a heart attack.
Then I go outside and yell at the kids to get off my lawn.