Why I Choose to Live Beyond 75

30 Comments

One day last week, I had to stop, listen and process an interview on one of the cable news stations.

I was shocked!!  Why, was Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel saying he wanted to die at 75?

It was unbelievable.  And I asked Hubby, “was that the same Dr. Emanuel who shows up on so many national news programs speaking as an expert on health related issues, especially, the Affordable Health Care Act.”  He said, “yes, but didn’t recall the details.”

Because we both missed most of the interview, I wanted to learn more.  So, I went to my IPad and googled, “why I want to die at 75 Ezekiel Emanuel.”  My friend, Google, found a lengthy article featured in the September 2014 issue of The Atlantic written by Dr. Emanuel.  

Why I Want To Die at 75:  Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D.

“I am sure of my position.  Doubtless, death is a loss.  It deprives us of experiences and milestones, of time spent with our spouse and children.  In short, it deprives us of all the things we value.

But, here is a simple truth that many of us seem to resist:  living too long is also a loss.  It renders many of us, if not disabled, then faltering and declining, a state that may not be worse than death but is nonetheless deprived.  It robs us of our creativity and ability to contribute to work, society, the world.  It transforms how people experience us, and most important, remember us.  We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic.”

Dr. Emanuel is a healthy 57-year-old and does not plan to end his life at 75 either by assisted-suicide or euthanasia.  But, he does say, “At 75 and beyond, I will need a good reason to even visit the doctor and take any medical test or treatment, no matter how routine and painless.  And that good reason is not — ‘it will prolong your life.'”

He also contends that in America we are so focused on doing things “like exercise, strict dieting, popping vitamins, etc., in an effort to cheat death and prolong life as long as possible.  This has become so pervasive that it now defines a culture type – what I call the American Immortal.”

Why I Choose to Live Beyond 75

Dr. Emanuel says he only wants to live until the age of 75; and, I respect his right to make this choice.  But, two years from now, if I reach the age of 75, I will continue to make healthy lifestyle choices.  These choices will be made not to prolong life, but to live life to the fullest.

While physical ailments, dementia, feebleness, memory, problem solving and other health conditions, relating to the aging process, may occur; I believe, forecasting what may happen in my future, inhibits my ability to live authentically in the present moment.

Today, I am a relatively healthy, 72-year-old with several manageable chronic illnesses.  In 2008, at the age of 66, I was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer.  Dr. Emanuel contends if he were diagnosed with cancer, after the age of 60, he would refuse treatment.  Again, I respect his right to make that decision.  But, I chose treatment.

And, over the past six years, I have been gifted with being in the present moment when my:

  • eldest grandson graduated from college
  • eldest granddaughter graduated from high school;
  • eldest grandson graduated from high school;
  • youngest grandson, graduated from middle school; and,
  • youngest granddaughter’s birth seven months after my 2008 breast cancer diagnosis.

Had I elected not to pursue treatment, I possibly would not have lived to see these major family milestones.

Additionally, beyond family milestones, I would have never witnessed the election of America’s first African-American President.  Something that I never expected would happen in my lifetime.

So, if I continue to be blessed with sound mind and body, I plan on being an active participant in managing my aging process beyond age 75.

And, I will not:

  • wait for death;
  • refuse medical treatment; or
  • accept that living a quality life ends at 75.

But, in addition to as-needed medical care, I will continue to manage my aging process by:

  • Being Positive
  • Practicing Forgiveness
  • Staying Physical
  • Embracing Family and Friends
  • Loving Me
  • Performing Random Acts of Kinds
  • Living A Spiritual Life
  • Trying New Things
  • Exploring New Places
  • Blogging About My Memories, Life Experiences and Random Thoughts

Rather than attempting to “cheat or prolong life” I choose to live life to the fullest until God guides me down a different path.

30 thoughts on “Why I Choose to Live Beyond 75

  1. This is a very good article it is well researched and your arguments are well stated. Overall this is a professional written post. Proud of you Vonnie.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  2. I love your attitude about living. If I had chosen to die at 75 I wouldn’t be writing this. I’m blessed with having no life threatening problems and plan to keep on keeping on, travels and all, until I have to change my life style. I think you are wonderful to have endured and thrived after dealing with your health problems.

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    • In reading you posts, it is clear to see that you are a person who believes in living life. Continue with your travels and sharing them with us. I so enjoyed your series on traveling through France with your Husband at a young age.

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  3. My dearest Yvonne, i know we didn’t meet on Blogging 101 but I’m grateful we met in the first place. Thank you for your timeless articles, pictures and the way you pull us into your beautiful world of small and big joys. God bless you and hugs.

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  4. Way to go Yvonne, you tell him!!! My Mom and Dad lived to 91 & 93 and were both as sharp as a tack. It was a little hard for them to get around (walking) but they both drove and were engaged in their art and did
    make real contributions up until the day they died. Now Damien, age 10, is another story. He is having surgery Wednesday to set two broken bones in his arm near his wrist. Flag football, and he didn’t even hit the ground. Go figure :):)

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    • Your parents are an excellent example of living a quality life after 75. As I recall, your father’s creative side emerged after retirement and the artistic works he left for his children, and later descendants, is a testimony of what we can accomplish as an elder. You, and your sisters are so blessed to have beautiful artistic works of art created by your mother and father that will serve as precious memories. o

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  5. Thank you for this wonderful post. At 75 it’s not just about the person anymore, how about the loved ones around? Like you Yvonne, my parents are blessed with about a dozen grand children most of which today can’t even imagine them dying yet.

    My mother was seriously ill last year due to diabetes/ BP complications – the day we nearly lost her – I have never been so scared in my life, I was just not ready for her to depart, my family was lucky she lived and since then has been taken her health seriously – she is 78, healthy, pain free and thankful for the gift of life.

    While Dr Emmanuel is entitled to his opinion, I wonder what he thinks about his family state of mind especially if they were able and willing to help?

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    • Thank you for your comments. So far, no one has disagreed with my decision. Though, I must admit my readership isn’t as large as The Atlantic Magazine. Like your mother, life threatening illnesses, changed my perspective; and, I now realize how important it is to make healthy lifestyle choices to maintain a healthy mind, body and spirit. Blessings to you, your mother, and other family members.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I am so glad you choose life!!! This is an incredible post… and an important one.

    One of my main mentors started a major part of her life’s work in her late 70’s or early 80’s and she is still going strong now that she is in her mid 80’s. In fact, she and her colleagues published a new book in the last year or so. “How Much is Too Much: Raising Likeable, Responsible, Respectful Children in an Age of Overindulgence.” It is based on years of research about overindulgence.

    I wonder if Dr. Emanuel will change his mind as he gets older!

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  7. Thank you for your comments. So far, I haven’t received any comments in support of Dr. Emmanuel’s theory. As we grow older, our perception of age changes. Now, that I am in my 70s, people in their 60s I see as youngsters.

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  8. I agree with you and all the above comments, Yvonne ~ let’s just wait and see how Dr Emmanuel feels about this when he’s 74 and three quarters! At 62 I’m a mere youngster, have recently retired and am having a ball, enjoying all the creative pursuits I haven’t had time for until now ~ despite the onset of osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. Just this week I joined two groups, mainly populated by people older than I, (Women’s Institute and Singalong for Older People.) I was thrilled by the vibrant energy in both groups, the acceptance of age~related ‘disabilities’ and the joyful determination to celebrate life! But I have to admit that even five years ago, when I was Dr Emmanuel’s age, I would have shuddered at the prospect of joining in such activities, with some people in their seventies and eighties,’suffering’ from physical and mental frailty. Oh, the arrogance of youth! Great article, very timely for me, thank you Sistah! 🙂

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  9. I was disturbed when I first read the article. As someone who has endured a lifetime of delicate health and now serious issues, I want the best, and all, medical resources available to keep me at a stable quality of life for as long as possible.

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  10. Pingback: Weekly Round Up: The MBC Edition | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

  11. dear Yvonne,

    my husband’s father lived to be nearly 101 y.o.. he never suffered any debilitating disease, was mentally sharp, lived independently in his own townhouse, drove his own car, cooked, gardened, and maintained constant contact with his children and 17 grandchildren. he never forgot a birthday, an anniversary, nor any other holidays and he reveled in being able to give of his time to help others. when we became grandparents (5 times) packages would arrive from him – the image of him shopping for baby girls and one baby boy brings happy and proud tears to my eyes to this day. he was a widower for 31 years, and never re-married. he deeply missed his wife who really was the glue that held our family closely knit together; but when she died, Dad decided the best thing he could do in her memory was to carry on her legacy – and he did it with such love and delight. in the end, he died instantly of a massive heart attack in his own home. I know my darling, Hugh, was well on his was to becoming Dad’s co-patriarch of the family, but alas, that was not meant to be. now I think it would be a wonderful thing for me to follow in their footsteps for as long as I am able.

    I admire and am greatly inspired by the list you made of how you want to live the rest of your life. I hope you don’t mind if I take my cues from that list – it so resonates the desire to maintain engagement and fulfillment in the after life I am trying to move forward towards after becoming a widow – I don’t want to BE a widow, but I am. however, I feel empowered to do all I can to avoid being defined as one. thank you for this wonderful post! I hope we both live long enough to see if Dr. Emmanuel changes his mind!

    with much love and gratitude,

    Karen xxooxx

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    • Thank you for sharing this uplifting story of your father-in-law. I do not plan to rely on the statistics or studies to determine how I live in this season of my life. As long as God guides me, I will follow his Plan. Always grateful for your comments.

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