Friday, I called my Aunt Ruth to wish her a happy 96th birthday. She sounded very cheery as she told me how lovely the flowers were that we had sent her and how she was not going to share the chocolates with my cousin who was coming shortly to take her to lunch. Aunt Ruth still lives by herself in her own house where she raised my cousins. And she still drives to her nail and hair appointments. How is that for aging well?

She wanted to know how we were and how the kids were and when we were going again to Mammoth.  She didn’t want to talk about her health; she was curious about everyone else. And, did I know the answer to a question she was asked on her driving test last week? What is the speed limit when there is snow on the ground? I wanted to know if she passed the test. Of course she did. So what is the answer to the question????

Aunt Ruth has now lived 30 years longer than my Dad, her brother.  Raised vegetarians, they both ate healthy, did not smoke, exercised frequently and had lots of friends. All of these have been studied to contribute to longevity. My Dad getting leukemia did not.

Talking with my Aunt made it clear that I have had role models around aging well. Of course it is possible to live on my own and feel pretty good until my late 90’s. She has done it. Why can’t I ski black diamond runs when I am 90? I think mental attitude plays a large part in achieving this goal. And, so does luck. I’m going to go stretch now, eat a healthy breakfast and go ski for 3 hours.

What will you do today to improve your chances of living until your 90’s?

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