So How Can a Man Live Over 100 Years of Age?
I am going to live to be over a 100 years old. I made this decision a few years back. It was a very cold, calculated decision. I cannot remember the exact moment I decided that. It was not a snap decision, nor an emotional one. It was a strategic and logical decision. I simply need to live to be over 100 years old.
Perhaps, it was the glorious arrival of my first grandchild. Perhaps, it was the unexpected passing of my older brother at 63 years of age. It may have been my mother’s declining health which pushed me to this extreme decision. Or, a rebellion against the proverbial mid-life crisis? My whole life has been a “crisis,” so I doubt it was that.
More likely than all these personal circumstances, it may have been the deeply retarded progress in social issues that I am passionate about; the epidemic of violence against women, entrenched racism, and capitalism on steroids devouring our earth’s resources.
I am that guy that Dostoevsky wrote about in his book, “The Idiot.” I have been cursed with a dysfunctional flaw in my brains software download. I have a deeply embedded and hardwired conviction I am not able to eradicate. I am vexed with the convoluted notion that I must leave the world a better place than it was before I got here, before I may lay down to rest. Pretty simple. Very delusional.
The current social and ecological chaos occurring leaves me little energy for the softer pastime activities I would love to explore further. Those things like reading more classics, practicing art and calligraphy, playing instruments, being a bohemian and sipping wine and espresso out in front of French cafes. My conscience tells me there is too much work to be done to blow time away like that, since this world has digressed, rather than progressed, on my lazy generations watch.
In other words, shit has gotten seriously worse, rather than better, since I have been born. As a kid, I saw Dr. King’s marchers on the black and white T.V. get harassed by dogs and fire hoses. I followed the scandal of Watergate, and the atrocity of devastation from the Vietnam War. I vividly remember the activism of the Black Panthers, Brown Panthers, Grey Panthers, and A.I.M. (American Indian Movement). Lots of woman and man hours of sacrifice put in to try to fix this big mess.
Even with all that blood, sweat, and tears—here we are in 2018 and stuck like mud back in the 1950’s. Three steps forward, ten steps back. Now legal lynching is performed by bullets from a gun, and the Jim Crow discrimination still runs strong underneath the surface of the “changed laws.”
The “laws” of this country protect the rich institutions and property, not human life. At least, not humans whose melanin levels are considered too darkly hued to warrant basic human compassion from our institutions. The “laws” of “National Socialist Workers Party” were the vehicles for their legal discrimination, persecution, and extermination of Germany’s scapegoat populations. Ask yourself, “How far do our Almighty laws actually carry us closer to true justice? Law and justice are not “kissing cousins,” too often they never even meet.
So, now as I look upon the strong young men who were once my little sons start to raise their own children, I am forced to contend with the reality they are forced to contend with — A world turned upside down on its head. This world where “right is called wrong.” The world Orwell warned us of, and we thought it a joke. A world where there is a legitimate question as to whether my baby granddaughter will have clean air to breathe, water to drink, and safe legal residence in the country of her birth.
My grandchildren of color are forced to contend with being in a country which despises those peoples whose origin does not stem exclusively from Northern Europe. A country that has actively been reversing laws which are supposed to provide “justice for all.” Which “All?” The “All” of “All Lives Matter?” Somehow, that “All” seems to be withheld for people like Sandra Bland and Philando Castile. The “Dreamers” are considered criminals merely for being gullible enough to dream of America as being a land for all people. Not, just the “white” ones.
I will live past 100 years because I have to. I, like Dostoevsky’s “Idiot,” must live in a manner that manifests eternal realities and values within a system mesmerized by the idol of expediency. I must work to leave this world in better shape after my brief (100 years plus) run upon it. This involves working extremely hard until one dies. As one of my key heroes spoke years ago, “The people who were trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off. Why should I?” — Bob Marley.
So How Can a Man Live Over 100 Years?
As Bob Marley said, this is the “Real Situation.” So I have strategically chosen to incorporate specific actions to reach my goal of living past 100 years of age. I have regularly exercised since I was 13 years old. Now, as I get older? It is time to increase it. I have trained myself and others to deal with toxic stress through Qigong and Tai Chi. Now, as I get older? Time to increase it. I am being mindful in my dietary choices, periodically fasting, moderating my beer and wine intake, eating more vegetables, sleeping more — “blah blah blah.” Still, it is time to increase it.
Most men will not live past 100. For some it will be due to genetics and heredity issues. For others, violence or tragic accidents will rend them from their families in an unexpected manner. But, for the rest of us “regular Joes,” we will die early because we are lazy and undisciplined. We will embody those characteristics to a greater degree in our aging lives, because we eventually tire out, give up, and just don’t give a shit anymore.
Over the years, I have forced myself to discipline my mind and body through regular martial arts practice, spiritual practices, and a commitment to live an ethical life and attempt to be the absolute best man I can be. “Goody” for me. Those things may help me live past a 100, but they will not get me over the finish line.
I will push through and get over that finish line mainly due to the intense light and fire I see in the eyes of my grandson and granddaughter’s. I will push through to 100 because I sense my ancestors, who passed a baton onto me, are not merely watching, they are cheering me on. Guiding me on. They call me to account, since they already put in their work. These next 50 plus years are my time to work harder than those who are “trying to make this world worse.” Those pricks are going to have to work a little harder on the rest of my watch.
Note: This article was previously published in the author’s website, www.frankblaney.com, and at The Good Men Project.