Here's the thing: if I died suddenly, and didn't know it was coming, how could I possibly care? I wouldn't be around to notice it happened.
What I absolutely DO care about, without a doubt, is that I don't want to get sick and linger in some awful in-between state, not quite alive, not yet dead. I'm thinking of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, any illness that would directly or indirectly interfere with my ability to enjoy (not just endure) my life. I want to be vital, strong, healthy and energetic for as long as I can, and then I want to be suddenly, and without warning...dead.
Right now, if I were to suddenly die, and if my consciousness could somehow linger long enough to appreciate my own death, I could be satisfied that I hadn't descended into serious quality-of-life-ruining ill health, pain, fear and sadness, and that I'd been living my life according to my values and principles. But I'm only 36, and despite a few health conditions, I enjoy fairly healthy, happy existence--for now.
But statistics are NOT on my side, here. Give me another 30 years proceeding as I was before starting CR, and I could reasonably expect my death to be merely the logical and tragic end to a lot of suffering.
I don't want to do it that way.
So, as far as I can tell, this CR thing is my ticket to avoiding that tragic fate, to enjoying life as a strong and healthy person for as long as possible--however long that turns out to be. I don't need 140 years to feel successful here. I'd be happy to make it to 70, but have these next 34 years be vibrant and wonderful, instead of sickly and sad.
I guess, if I'm really honest with myself, I'm early into this process and I've been reluctant to share this blog with, for example, friends or co-workers, etc. because I'm sensitive to the idea that someone reading this blog who doesn't know anything about this process will be dismissive of CR before fully understanding that it's not only about some magical unknown future longevity, but about the quality of my life RIGHT NOW!
When I first trained for a marathon, our training coach said at the beginning, "Don't think about 26.2 miles, when today you only need to run 5. Can you run 26.2 miles? Of course not--not today. So why spend time stressing about how daunting that distance seems. Focus on what you have to work with right now."
I don't have 140 years to work with right now. I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol and I'm 40 lbs overweight--that's what I have to work with right now. That's the five miles I have to run today. Longevity? That's the 26.2 miles I'm slowly, gradually working my way up to. I'm choosing to be mindful of what's happening to me now.
So if you are reading this blog, and you are critical of CR, or you are interested in persuading me that CR isn't the absolute best way for me to work with my health concerns right now, you better first do the following:
- Demonstrate to me that you know what CR is, and that you are conversant in its premises and principles. (And be aware that it's taken me almost three months of study to just begin to understand it, and I have a long way to go, so don't imagine you can simply do a quick google search and convince me that you know what you're talking about. Be prepared to work for my respect.)
- Prove to me that you have a better solution that can survive scientific scrutiny (good luck)
- Show me how your solution is working out for you personally. (In other words, if you aren't personally a shining beautiful example of good health, I really don't want to hear advice from you.)