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Being Prepared

Posted By: KP
Date: Friday, 10 August 2007, at 9:45 a.m.

In the past ten years I have made some significant changes in my personal life in an effort to double my lifespan. I was about forty years old when I decided that I should give an all out effort to outlive my dad, who had died suddenly at age forty-nine. Educated via years of university in the medical sciences, another four years of health science in professional school as a chiropractor, from personal experience, reading and mentors, I have come to understand health and recovery issues; medical, alternative and non linear. Recent events make clear how much influence we may be able to exert over life span. Folks who say different are released of responsibility and in turn avoid difficult choices. It’s like saying, I don’t have the genetics to get to Kona so why do all the little things it takes to accomplish such a goal. True, some athletes are given better sporting genes than others; and some people have superior longevity genes; but we can close the gap doing things others won’t do that make a difference. Time may not support my current view on my personal longevity; however, I am hoping it takes another 40 years to prove my case. In addition to added concern for my health, I started viewing risk differently. The healthier I got, the happier I became and the more value I placed on my life. I began looking for ways to lower risk separate from health.

Back to health: In the last 18 months I have gone through a series of tests to establish my physiological age. I knew that my chronological age was fifty-one; what I wanted to know was “how things were working”. I did blood work, cardiac function test, lung capacity, complete physical examination, sigmoidoscopy, and a 64-Slice CT angiography. This was all done prior to my pal’s sudden death last week. He knew about the testing and was asked to follow along. After being told we had 6-10 years to live at age forty, I was pleased to find out was that my internist now placed my physiological age at 36.

At the time I was testing, my close friend, Gordo, knew that I was very tired and unable to train effectively (more on that in an upcoming Alternative Perspectives article). Over the years, we have talked quite a bit about quality of life and, by extension, death. (note his gBlog entry from August 1st http://www.gordoworld.com/gblog/index.html ). But most discussion centers on living and how we choose to live.

As information began surfacing that suggested that I might be around for awhile, he said, “I think you may want to shift focus from ‘not dieing’, to ‘preparing for the eventuality that you may live longer than you planned’. Classic g-man. I admire Gordo’s preparedness. He’s prepared to deal with mistakes made his past and has openly shares learning experiences. He is aware of the present and is prepared for the future as well as one can be.

When I first met Gordo I noticed that he was calculated. It’s not that he lives without risk; rather, he attempts to avoid mistakes through careful planning. I am thinking some of this came from mountaineering, some of it grew out of his deep education in finance and much of it comes from the fact that he enjoys the process that results in personal success.

I am reminded by friend Scott’s death that we cannot prepare on our deathbed. No one knows that day or hour. We are mortal, and life is a game of cards being dealt to us, and we are required to play. Although we can't control the dealing, we can control how we play the cards we have received.

Close to the chest with no risk whatsoever, hoping to avoid loss at all costs, satisfying ourselves as mere observers and missing out on the fun of the game; Or we can be loose and daring, with all cares tossed to the winds, in which case we are at risk of losing our ante in a hurry.

Or we can play the game intelligently, betting when appropriate and holding when appropriate, with a reasonable degree of caution spiced with some fancy footwork here and there, leaving the greatest amount of free room for maneuvering on the table when the risk is acceptable and perhaps even downright enjoyable.

coach KP

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