My doubt regarding our aging

After reading the article “The Way We Age Now, Medicine has increased the ranks of elderly. Can it make old age any easier?” by Atul Gawande, I knew a lot about how we grow old and how medical ad has averted the increase in death rate. Before reading this article, I used to think that the average life span of our ancestor is longer than ours. We Bhutanese believe that our generation will sustain in three steps. First generation’s average life span will be one thousand; it was during our ancestors’ time. Second generation’s average life span will be one hundred, it’s at present. And the third generation’s average life span will be ten years; it will be in the coming future. However, the article ridiculously reversed my notion about the aging.

As I read the article, I reminisced about my days with my grandmother who is 73 years old. She always used to complain about her chronic health problems. She would use a long stick to endorse herself while moving around. She would eat softer foods such as chicken soup, omelets, and beaten rice.

I agree with Atul that our chewing ability declines as we grow older, our hair starts to grow gray, age spots starts to grow on our skin and our eyes become weak. This is because I have seen all this transitions in my grandmother’s life.

However, I have seen my friend’s grandmother still being vigorous as in the past. She is 73 years old too. I can easily discriminate between two grandmother’s lives. My grandmother looks more old and weak than my friend’s grandmother. My friend’s grandmother still collects firewood from the forest. She still works in the farmland. She can even chew dry cheese. The severity of her alertness is ridiculously greater than my grandmothers. And the most peculiar thing about my friend’s grandmother is that she always drinks hard drinks after dinner. She affirmed that hard drinks stimulates her strength and makes her stronger.  Do you believe it?

I understood that we can’t stop aging of our bodies and minds but I am still dubious about why people of same age have differences in their aging? Is it due do diet? Or is it due to genes? In the article it was mentioned that inheritance has surprisingly little influence on longevity. Then is it due to the way we spend our time? I asked my grandmother about her childhood days. She said that she used to be a very hardworking woman just like my friend’s grandmother. In fact, they used to do their domestic and farm work together. What might be the secret then?

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