Eighty Years Old… or Thirty-one.

Pumpkin Carving Party – Table Topics

Yesterday, I was sitting with some friends when we found a stack of cards called “table topics.” Each card had a different question for the group to answer. One particular card stuck with me – obviously, I care about these things more because I’m a dietitian…

“Would you stop eating all junk food if it meant you could live an additional five years?”

I’m twenty-six. The other people around me were similar ages. I wasn’t surprised when everyone quickly said that they weren’t concerned with an extra five years – they’d take the junk food.

Figures.

It’s hard for people my age to conceptualize the time at the end of their life. I’m a different type of twenty-six year old. I work at a hospital. I’m constantly interacting with people who are scared they might be looking at their last years. My friends have not had the same experiences. Their limited viewpoint kept them from understanding what they agreed to exchange.

Contract:

I’ll sacrifice my body if it means I’ll be able to have more momentary pleasure.

Sign here. Thanks.

It’s a trap. Don’t sign.

I know far too many people who feel trapped inside their own body. They’re limited by their capabilities and situation in life.

At the end of your life, do you want to be…

  • sick and in pain, constantly at the doctor or in the hospital
  • unable to perform activities of daily living
  • unable to breathe on your own
  • getting help wiping your own butt
  • living in a nursing home
  • unable to walk 20 feet without becoming exhausted
  • swimming in medical bills
  • causing the people who love you to stop their lives in order to take care of you
  • trapped in your house because you can no longer drive and your family doesn’t come get you
  • feeling like a burden and tired of asking for help
  • feeling like people who love you are just waiting for you to “die, already…” because they’re tired of putting their life on hold for you?

I hope this doesn’t happen. I hope you never have to know what this feels like. But, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t seen it happening over and over again in my job.

Consider this: You don’t know your children or your grandchildren. Do you want to be around to know them? Do you want to be able to help guide them through their lives?

If you have a hard time imagining your life as an eighty year old, get to know some eighty year olds. You’ll learn real quick.

Does it make a difference if we know how long our life might be?

What if I’m supposed to die tomorrow?  

My youngest sister just turned four. I’d like to see her grow up. I’ve got two other sisters, a brother, parents, grandparents, cousins, uncles, and an aunt. They need me. My patients need me. My friends need me. I’m just not done yet.

Why should I act like I don’t care about tomorrow? I do care.

Each day is a gift and there are no guarantees for tomorrow. There is no doubt in my mind that I’ve been put on this Earth for a reason. A small part of this reason is my own personal pleasure. A much larger part of my existence has to do with what I can contribute to God’s Kingdom. In order to be efficient in this task – I see it as a personal responsibility to keep up the body I’ve been given.

I’ve got things to do.

Who knows? I might need to live to eighty…. or thirty-one.

One thought on “Eighty Years Old… or Thirty-one.

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