The Long Life We Choose

Recent research results seem to indicate that the secret to long life is found in the quality and quantity of relationships. The Length of Life is not a secure achievable goal. It is affected by many sources and issues. However of those who do manage to navigate the trials and storms well enough to last through many years, relationships seem to be a significant factor.

Long term research seems to reveal there are many common factors impacting the length of a persons life. But if there is a magic bullet which reigns above all others it is not isolated to religion or health or intellect nor wealth. Money of course cannot buy you love or happiness, long life or assurance of success. Used properly it can be one tool to get there.

Being smart about your choices or having the gift of intellectual brilliance doesn’t lock you in to long life and happiness either. Some believe that being vegan or maintaining a gluten free diet will get them more trips around the sun.

Yet when all the evidence is in, it is not one of the top key indicators. Faith is important for how you treat others and where you go when you leave this world but seems to not be important to long life by itself.

That brings us back to relationships. Quantity is the large family experience. Whether you are related by blood or just married into the circle, there is a wonderful dynamic involved in being at Grandma’s for Easter Sunday dinner.

In some families there are so many varied personalities that you are bound to like one of them. Think for a moment about the different topics which typically come up a a family reunion. Religion, politics, marriage and divorce conversations can drive you to the sports or family gossip groups. It is certainly quantity involved there.

My favorite aspect attributed to successful longevity is the quality relationships. There are few relationships which I would categorize as true friendships. My wife is the best friend I have. The evidence says that the more is better.

Three men have been so influential in my life that I would count them far above all other relationships I have known. Two of them have passed and one is now separated by years and miles.

Still the quality of those unions seems to directly impact shows itself in the lives of others I interact with. The truth I see is that the quantity and quality of the relationships I experience and maintain with others directly influences a myriad of life issues.

My health and my happy are generally better when I have more. Even if they are frivolous casual relations. Knowing that others matter to me and that I do to them, keeps my desire to be part of life hopping. I need to talk to the clerk at the store and brighten their day.

I value the opportunity to comfort some who sorrow and wonder about their tomorrows. The zest I know of life is the spark implanted by the lives of others. The best I can be, allows for the messed up me, to be ignored and forgiven.

The Psalms asks the age old question “What man is he that desires life, And loves many days, that he may see good?”

I believe the answer is that most of us do. We love the life we have and want to see it last. And it is in the multiplicity of quality interactions with others that we seem to find the most rewards.

So choosing to invest well in the lives of others appears to be a valuable contribution to our own Long Life and our ability to “Live long and Prosper”.

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