April 19, 2014, loomed, a date of huge importance. One member of the Bortz clan was to live a full 10 decades, an occasion not to be missed. Don was going to need extra puffing power to blow out all those candles.
While diet and lifestyle choices play a factor, research shows that it's genetics that determines how long we get to stick around. The genes in my family suggest that I'm here for a good long while -- which I'm not so sure would be my first choice.
In my experience, every single person who has mastered the great art of successful aging has had an inner grit. Not necessarily with any bravado or flourish, but with a steely determination to look loss straight in the face without blinking.
One of the secrets to longer lifespan may be to get connected. It might mean having more regular contact with family or friends. For some, it might mean joining a club, taking up line dancing, or even starting a language class.
The kind young woman asked my mom if she wanted to talk about dying. When my mother replied no, the young woman asked, "Doesn't it worry you when you think about dying?" My mother replied, "No, I just don't think about it."