Living & Dying
Following up on my post “The Right to Die with Dignity” is this opinion piece in today’s NYC. Upon reflection, choosing the method of our eventual demise is a gift very few of us are granted.
Taking a broader view, it would seem preferable to keep healthy by a method that is simple, reliable and doesn’t require constant revision and fine-tuning. We do, after all, have such a method available: simply follow the humdrum standard advice we’ve heard all our lives about eating sensibly, exercising regularly, and having recommended medical tests and exams. Doing this and foregoing the endless calibration of our behavior to the latest research results will be far less stressful, make it more likely that we’ll stick to the method, and allow more time for fulfilling pursuits. From this point of view, the media’s constant updates on the latest observational studies are counterproductive.
We are all going to die sometime, from something. Even if I find just the right blend of exercise, diet and herbs that saves me from a heart attack at 60, I may have merely ensured that I will die of cancer at 70. Saving myself from cancer at 70 may mean I end with 10 agonizing years of dementia. When all is said and done, how we die is a crap-shoot, and, short of avoiding obvious risks such as smoking and poor diet, there’s little we can do to load the dice.