"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

Don’t let the years stop the yearning

By on July 26, 2021 in Columnist with 0 Comments
Mike Cassidy

By Mike Cassidy


History columnist Rod Molzahn deviates from writing about local history this month to sharing tidbits from a book popular around the turn of the 20th Century.

The Handbook of Useful Information was first published in 1884 and it was like the Google of its day, full of … well, as the title says, useful information.

And, like Google today, maybe some information was not strictly accurate.

My favorite tidbit shared by Rod is this one:

Centenarians: “The most remarkable were: The Countess of Desmond, killed by falling from a cherry tree in her 146th year…”

Now, living to 146 is one thing, but falling from a fruit tree? I’m not even half her age, and already my wife is nervous about my climbing fruit trees — chainsaw in hand — to lop off overgrown tops.

I suppose one advantage to living to 146 is you don’t have a nervous nelly of a spouse holding you down.

After I read Rod’s column, our doctor, Jim Brown, sent along his column, asking the practical question of, “How old is old?”

Jim points out as the life expectancy of humans increases, the definition of what is considered “old” is pushed out later.

I was recently watching an Alfred Hitchcock episode from the 1960s (remember who Alfred Hitchcock is? Heard of the 1960s?) where a character dies at 61 playing tennis. “What was he doing playing tennis at his age?” asks one of the heirs gathered for the will reading.

I’ve played tennis with 80-year-olds. And I could consider it a kindly good deed on my part for playing with these old duffers, if it were not that their wiles and trickery kept beating me.

Dr. Jim ended his column with a website where a person can calculate their life expectancy. 

Naturally, I had to take the 40-question quiz — trying not to stray too far from the truth. (Sure, I always exercise three to five times a week, never over-indulge and maybe the weight entered was more wishful than scale-accurate.)

At the end, out pops my life expectancy — a few more good decades. Yea! I may get to see humans land on Mars yet!

And I promise, once I get past 125, I’m staying out of fruit trees.

At the opposite end of the age spectrum, Lochlan Werdell, at age 8, is the youngest person we’ve had on our cover.

(I think it’s also the only time we’ve had a stuffed animal on the cover.)

Lochlan was 8, and his sister Bennett was 9 when they summited Mount Rainier with their dad, Joel.

In addition, Joel reports that, “They are also the youngest siblings — or perhaps Lochlan is the youngest kid — to summit all Washington volcanoes at age 11 and 9.”

I guess maybe the old saying that, “age is just a number” is true — don’t let the number hold you back from living a life with adventures.

Quit thinking of the candles on your birthday cake, think of the fire inside you instead. Enjoy The Good Life.

— Mike

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