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On turning 76 — By Tommy Purser

I turned 76 Sunday.

I didn’t celebrate the occasion but I did endure it. I graciously accepted a chorus of Happy Birthdays from family that had gathered at my oldest offspring’s home for a belated Thanksgiving celebration. Belated because we celebrated two days after Thanksgiving.

Late celebrations of significant events have, in my old age, become commonplace as we juggle our days of celebrations with our family, the married children’s new families —— you get the picture. Now that we have a great-grandchild there are a few new layers of family to make time for.

Some 34 years ago, I had the occasion to listen to a presentation from a “Futurist.” Futurists predict the future, not through some magical interpretive skills, but rather through looking at and studying trends, past and present. By looking at trends, one can make educated predictions of what lies in the future. This particular futurist looked carefully around the room full of listeners, making mental note of the ages of the audience members. As he finished scanning the faces in the room he said, “Yeah. I believe everyone in this room can reasonably expect to live to be 100 years old. IF,” he added. “you don’t smoke. Don’t die in a car accident or meet the end by some other means.”

His prediction made me sit up and notice. I was 42 years old at the time. It never occurred to me that I could reasonably expect to live to be 100.

The futurist based his assessment on the then-current trends in medical advances that he expected would continue to advance.

So I made up my mind, 34 years ago, that I would live to be 100. And, each year, I become more convinced I will enjoy a long life as I observe continuing medical advances that seem to have no end in sight.

The quality of my coming life? That’s another question altogether. But I look forward to trying to make it enjoyable.

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