From birth to death, life itself is to be enjoyed at its fullest.
To reach mature adulthood, age 75 plus, is a great accomplishment these days. Those who reach this milestone should be applauded for surviving hopefully with much happiness throughout their whole tenure on this green earth.
Survival is not the easiest thing in the world with so many diseases, fatal accidents and just being born at the wrong time and place, and sadly, even into the wrong family. Our own behavior itself has to be a factor in longevity.
As we cruise through infancy to early childhood and into middle childhood and even late childhood, the ages 10 to 12 are giant stepping stones before we reach adolescence or teenage years from 13 to 19. Those seem to be the years when everything is set in motion.
I believe in those teenage years, a good family upbringing is still, even in these modern times, quite essential to longevity.
Our own genes or genetics seem also to play a big part in our daily lives as we graduate into early adulthood when many goals are set and met. Sometimes those genes can determine our resourcefulness and - perish the thought - diseases and ailments that seem to follow through our lineage. We cannot help that, but we can be aware of it and maybe take some action because of it.
The sad case is that no matter what the genes are that you inherited, your own body undergoes many physical reactions itself. Those reactions can cause damage and, yes, even aging in your body. They say that genetics account for about 35 percent of the role in aging.
My GGG-grandfather lived to be 100, his wife, my GGG-grandmother, also lived to be 100, and their first daughter also lived to the ripe old age of 100.
That doesn't say that I will live to be 100 or even close to it. Or, I just might get lucky and thankful for heredity - but doubtful.
Are there unheard secrets for centenarians? We must be reminded that centenarians have seen a lot in their lifetimes including world wars, the Great Depression and even a lunar landing. Their musical tastes could have heard jazz, swing, rock, hip hop, rap and who knows what is next. They enjoyed silent movies to talkies and black-and-white movies to color and even R-rated movies.
Could this all add up to their longevity in so many different trends?
It seems that as we age, naturally our organs age as well and make some changes, including our own immune systems. Did you know that the capacity of our lungs could decrease as much as 40 percent between ages 20 and 70?
The Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon, as legends and history dictates, set eyes on Florida in 1513. They say that Ponce only discovered Florida while searching for the Fountain of Youth, which, as we all know, was a magical water source capable of reversing aging and curing all illnesses.
We should also know that our friend Ponce never came close to finding the Fountain of Youth.
Should we continue to look for it? In the future, there just may be, through science, a way to reverse aging and bring back that sweet bird of youth that we all long for.
But in the meantime, we should capture all of the life that is within us and simply enjoy each and every day, even though some of those days make us wonder.
Points to ponder: In Greece, the people are three times more likely than Americans to reach the age of 90 due to a 30-minute nap every day and are 35 percent less likely to have heart disease. In Okinawa, Japan, their key is to maintain positive relationships. In Sardinia, walking is their magical ingredient for a long life.
Some other tips include moderate drinking, cutting down on meat consumption and having a purpose every day.
Whatever you decide, simply enjoy your life, for you only go through it one time!
Whited is a Tribune Chronicle columnist.