Do you have a Life Plan? Do you know what a Life Plan is? You may not have heard of this, the way I mean it, because I think I made it up. This Life Plan is a goal for how long you want to live and defines what quality of life you’d like during those years. We all have a lifespan, which is the number of years we are alive. And our lifespan is comprised of both a healthspan, the time we are healthy and thriving, and a deathspan, when our health is declining and we are alive but no longer thriving.
According to my Life Plan, I will live to be 120 years old and spend the vast majority of that time in my healthspan, with a short deathspan. Like many people, I want to live a long time but I don’t want to get “old”. I’m not interested in being alive but with a very poor quality of life due to the failings of my body and mind.
Yes, I do realize I could die in an accident tomorrow and my Plan won’t come to be. Lots of plans don’t go according to The Plan but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t make one with an intent to succeed. There are all kinds of Plans people put in place. To be financially secure you need a Financial Plan, homes and buildings need an Emergency Evacuation Plan, expectant parents have Birth Plans… These types of plans are important if you want to make things happen in a conscious way.
There’s much we can’t control, but we can plan for the best without being attached to expectations. Expectations are disappointment waiting to happen. We can plan for the best and still be ready to accept whatever comes.
If you are ready to prepare for a lifespan circumstance or goal it is helpful to first know what you consider to be a successful outcome. Even if you can see several, choose and focus on one. Next, take advantage of all the good information out there as to how to support a healthy and thriving life, and accept that it is still up to you to make good choices. I’m guessing when most people (most but not everyone!) consider their deathspan, they would prefer to go peacefully and quietly in their sleep. If that’s you, then make it part of your Life Plan. Actually write it down to set a deeper level of intention toward realizing that goal. By committing a deeper level of intention, the chances are increased that it will come to be. Moreover, once you are clear on your goal, it becomes easier to make the choices that support your goal.
I completely understand that my Plan may not be for everyone. It requires a degree of discipline that can be hard to express in every single moment. Limiting or foregoing desserts, cocktails, and sitting on a couch binge watching for hours at a stretch (without a stretch break) may not be worth it to some. I get that some don’t see the point in living longer if they can’t enjoy physical pleasures and have to commit to the extra time and effort required for behaviors like exercise, meditation, and other “wellness” practices. I’d like to go on record as saying that this makes perfectly good sense and I consider it to be a valid point. It’s absolutely fine — for them. I’m not judging, and I celebrate that we are not all the same. I will concede that I don’t live in a bubble of purity, and sometimes like to take a walk on the wild side myself. In moderation.
I merely want to encourage people to think about their desires and goals in a mindful way. You can make things happen, you can watch things happen, or you can wonder what happened. Only you can own the kind of person you are…and decide which kind of person you want to be.
So how am I doing with my PLAN? Actually, at about halfway there, pretty well! Physically, I’m enjoying good health and not taking any regular medications. I confess that there are several areas where I am in need of improvement (to put it mildly), but I consider these areas my teachers. It helps to remember that self-improvement is not a linear process. There will always be fluctuations from the baseline. There will always be ups and downs but everything is always unfolding exactly as it’s supposed to. To that point, I realize that celebrating my 120th birthday will mean saying goodbye to a lot of loved ones along the way because not everyone wants to live to be that old. Not everyone thinks they can live to be that old. But this is a challenge I’m willing to take on. I admit it’s a little scary to go public with this intention. What if others are here only to see me fail?
But so what if ultimately I fail. Is that ever a reason not to try? All said, as I look back over the decades, I am pretty damn proud of myself and how I’ve grown. That’s why I’m open to sharing my Life Plan with you. I have a high tolerance for embarrassment.
This website is for people who would like to not only live a long lifespan, but one with a long healthspan. I’m hoping you will be inspired to join me on this journey. I’d love to have some old friends (literally and figurative) to help me celebrate my 120th.