Live Longer or Live Fuller?

life well livedMy newsletter this month discussed ways you might be aging faster than you want. Beyond common culprits like smoking (which can cause premature wrinkling, yellowing of teeth, and damage to the lungs and cardiovascular system), there are less obvious things that could be speeding up your aging process.

I try to avoid lifestyle habits that might make me age more quickly because I’m not in a hurry to get old(er). But I’m also not obsessed with living longer per se. Just hanging around for the greatest number of years isn’t a worthy goal to me, especially if those years are spent coping with crushing pain or being unable to connect with what matters.

To live longer isn’t nearly as important to me as to live fully for as long as possible. For that reason, I’m more interested in staying healthy for as long as I can and being engaged with what I find meaningful. Rather than tally up years, I want to contribute what I can and maintain a mindset that helps me see ways to make life richer.

So while I strive to care of my body and my brain and those efforts may contribute to longer life, longevity is not my first priority. Don’t get me wrong. I like being alive, but it’s quality rather than quantity of life that I seek. As Will Smith’s character in the movie “Hitch” put it, “Life is not about how many breaths you take, but about the moments that take your breath away.” Susan Sarandon expressed it this way: “It’s not a long life that matters, but a deep one.”

Whatever changes lie ahead, may you never lose your sense of awe and wonder. May you always have curiosity and passion. May you forever enjoy the precious gift of love. And may you find joy in the simple things. Whatever the number of years ahead, let this be a life well lived.

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