As a baby boomer who at last has to admit she might be entering old age, I am attracted by articles reporting the number of centenarians in Canada. We all like to see a tv interview with an old gal or guy who has defied the odds, lived to 100, and is doing incredible things. Alert, engaged, and feisty. Those are the people we see at 100.
The lucky Centenarians are fit, bright, and relatively healthy. The biggest determiner for these attributes is genetics. Surprise! People who live a longer, healthy life are genetically fortunate. A lifestyle including exercise, good food, and an optimistic outlook plays a role but a person can't live to 100 without the right genes.
People don't like living in the shadow of the reaper but some folk are just surviving in nursing homes and extended care facilities. That is the dark side of old age. It is out of one's control and people do linger on when they would rather be done with life.
Even those who have the genes, so have the health, can have regrets about such a long life. One of my Mother's friends died recently at 101 years. She had told people that she was ready to go. She had had one group of friends and they all died on her so she made a second group. And you guessed it, they died, too. She was working on her third group.
This is not meant to be macabre. Death is a fact of life (pun intended.) In Canada, we still like to pretend it might not happen to us or those we love. There should be more discussion. The legislation to allow some people to end their lives with dignity is a step in the right direction. We need to live life to the fullest and talk about death, too. It's gonna happen.
I've been married a long time and often write about everyday events.