Keep Your Promises

I have been married for over 53 years, so I am always prepared for people to ask: “What is the secret to a long marriage?” No one has asked yet but when we celebrate our 75th Anniversary at age 97, journalists will be legally and ethically required to pose the question. The answer is different for each person and it changes over time. When I was young, I told everyone that my wife Mollie was a free spirit and planned to run off some day and disappear. I hoped this notion would take root in the collective consciousness of family and friends and help me avoid being the primary suspect if she turned up missing. After the dawn of the Century of Constant Surveillance, going missing became more difficult because we have tracking devices embedded in our hands and cameras recording our every movement. We cannot be erased from social media even if we die.

As the years together add up, I have begun considering whether long marriages require two people with rigid belief systems who stubbornly resist change no matter how strong the case is for flexibility. Or perhaps the secret is merely two people who can never admit mistakes or who are too boring and lazy to change old habits. Mollie is inspecting my draft and wondering why I am trying to annoy those who do not have long marriages and insult the ones who do. We make a great team. She keeps our marriage alive by asking provocative questions like that. And I provide the rigidity by ignoring them.


Longevity Tips

I did the first fifty years on my own but have been counting on the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to get me the second half of the way to 100 years old. Three tips I excerpted from the December/January AARP Magazine:

(1) Tai chi is not a beverage for those who suffer from dyslexia but rather a martial art practiced for defense and health. Tai chi balance exercise: “Stand on one foot for 30 seconds and balance, then switch.” This seems counterintuitive. Seniors are warned that our biggest threat is falling down. And standing on one foot is the fastest way to fall down. I have trouble remaining upright on two feet. If I could balance on one foot for half a minute, I would be in little danger of ever falling down.

(2) One of the ten “subtle signs” that you might have Osteoporosis is “broken bones.” Presumably from doing crazy things like entering Standing on One Foot contests at the Senior Citizen Center. I could write such warnings. One of the subtle signs that you are dead: lack of breathing for over an hour.

(3) One product that “could save your life” just by going to the bathroom: “The Heart Seat by Casana is a toilet seat that measures blood pressure, blood oxygen and heart rate.” The seat shares the data it gathers to a “secure dashboard” which allows primary care physicians and/or cardiologists to monitor your health trends. I may have to opt out of some of these measures and settle for just making it to age 90.