When I awoke this morning and discovered I was still alive, I knew I had done it. I had reached three score and ten, as the book of Psalms puts it - I was now 70 years old. I remember a friend telling me that one day, saying..in spite of his emphysema..that at least he had reached his allotment of three score and ten.
I seem to be in considerably better health than he was at the time, though I do make do with a pacemaker to keep my heart beating and a plethora of prescription medicines, along with a handful of vitamin supplements, to keep everything else working. Of course, the drugs cause other problems . . like thin blood, swelling on the bottoms of my feet, a weakness in my right leg that usually prevents me from walking or standing for a period of time, some weird type of skin ailment that causes intense itching and red spots, and the like. But still, I am alive.
This comes as a great surprise to me and to many who have known me. I recall making contact with an old friend from my college days after some 40 years and her first comment was "My god, are you still alive?" SWMBO has been convinced for decades that either my smoking or drinking or other bad habits would cause me to succumb. I was pretty sure, as were my parents, that I would not survive an emergency operation for a ruptured appendix when I was around 12 or 13 years old. But still, after 70 years, I am alive.
What a wonder that is when so many friends and relatives have departed. One good friend left me less than a week ago.
So what advice can I give, now that I have reached an age where I can feel free to offer advice? Stay curious, see the doctor, take your pills, listen to your wife. If you smoke - stop. If you do all of these things, perhaps you will also make it to three score and ten and beyond. And you won't wind up looking like I do at this age.