Thursday, October 26, 2006



hen we got remarried back in 2000, M and I were already well into our 40s. In fact, we were both 44 at the time. Now, the Japanese have a relatively long life expectancy; indeed, it is the one of the longest in the world, where men live into the upper 70s and women into their mid-80s.

This is fine for M, but not so relevant for me. I am Japanese heritage, but culturally--diet, health habits--I am strictly American. Hamburgers and potato chips, steak and french fries are foods I can hardly live without. So my life expectancy is likely lower than the average Japanese male. I am hoping, however, that genetics will play a role in my longevity. My father and his siblings all lived long healthy lives. My uncle Frank lived to be 101, my aunt Ichi reached 88 (I think) a full 20 years after she was diagnosed with stomach cancer. My father lived until he was 92. My grandmother on my mothers side also lived into her 90s. My mother, an atom bomb victim, not only survived the blast, she survived two heart bypass surgeries, but finally succumbed non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a disease that may be connected with a-bomb survivors.

Unfortunately, both M and I were smokers. M smoked since her early 20s. I was much worse. I started at 14, stealing Kents from my mother and smoking behind the garage. By the time I was 18, I was a two-packs-a-day Marlboro Red smoker. When K, my daughter, was born in 1987, I cut back significantly to half a pack or less, but just couldn't kick the habit. So the effects of my years of smoking will undoubtedly influence my life expectancy.

But when M and I decided to get married late in our lives, we wanted to live together as long as we could. "It's never too late" sounds cliche and in fact it probably is, but we decided to quit the one thing we could control--smoking. We have been married since June of 2000 and neither of us have smoked since--well, I think I cheated once when I was drunk one night at a bar... which leads me to the next topic in the "Getting to Know Someone" survey.

Getting To Know Someone From A to Z

D - Drink or smoke: Yes, I drink, but only on the weekends, usually Friday, and occasionally Saturday, and often to excess, meaning 5-6 points of beer. No, I don't have the stamina I once had and find that I get drunk much easier than I used to. But it's okay. At least I no longer smoke.

1 comment:

anne said...

I think the A-bomb had a hand in the longevity thing too...
But yeah, I suppose lifestyle has a huge part to play in longevity. I guess having heartburns at 20 isn't a fine thing to have. I've been eating lots of celery ever since. lol.