Some scoff at fourth quarter of life with a fifth quarter, or overtime

Challenges of living to age 100


T. Boone Pickens, a prominent business tycoon, recently suffered a series of health challenges. He said he continues to be mentally strong at age 89 and, as far as life goes, “I clearly am in the fourth quarter.”

This football analogy applies to many of us as we play the game of life.

What is your perspective? What quarter are you playing? In a recent Pew survey, it appears that people would prefer to have more years in their 20s than in their 80s.

Jo Ann Jenkins in her book “Disrupt Aging” shows the way to a bold new path to living your best life at every age. Coaches revive a losing team with pep talks and innovative plays to win. Remember, there is a “life span” and a “health span.” Healthy well-trained and disciplined teams have a better chance of winning than teams with injuries and discipline problems.

In a Mayo Clinic Health Letter, the editor pointed out that astronaut John Glenn returned to space at age 77, Frank Lloyd Wright was designing and building at age 91; and President Ronald Reagan was elected to a second term as president of the United States at age 73. What quarter did they have the best performance?

What about overtime? The fifth quarter? According to researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, age 115 appears to be the current maximum human lifespan. Currently, 117-year old Violet Mosses Brown of Jamaica holds the title of the world’s oldest living person.

Robert Merchand set a new world record for his age group by bicycling nearly 17 miles in one hour at age 102. With good diet, exercise and all the secrets shared by centenarians, medical people and psychologists, a long life is worth the effort.

Aging research is being funded by Silicon Valley companies according to Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor. He explains in his book “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself” that aging is a disease and new treatments extend life. By encouraging the release of anti-aging drugs faster, more of us will have a chance at living longer.

The ball is in your hands. Remember, you are not alone. There is a team out there helping you to overcome the challenges. What quarter are you playing? 

Ed Baranowski is president of Topics Unlimited, a Melbourne-based education, seminar and consulting company. He can be reached

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