Why I Hope to Die at 75 . . .

Got your attention, huh? That is the title of a philosophy (not a book yet) that was reviewed tonight on the PBS Newshour, Why I Hope to Die at 75 by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel. The link is to The Atlantic interview since I can’t find Judy Woodruff’s interview on PBS.org.

What the doctor brother of Ron Emanuel is talking about is something I basically subscribe to, though I expect to live past 75 which happens for me next year in Costa Rica! Otherwise, let nature take its course! One of the things he says is:

Once I have lived to 75, my approach to my health care will completely change. I won’t actively end my life. But I won’t try to prolong it, either.

That has become my philosophy after two years living in a retirement center that promised an active lifestyle but has at times depressed me with the mostly infirm residents talking more about their ailments than anything else while I trip over walkers and wheel chairs in the dining room, my first nudge toward retiring in a place like Costa Rica. I actually expect to live to 85 or 95, but I could just as easily go next year and I’m ready if so. When I cease contributing to my world and start being a drain on the world and the people around me, then it seems best to go. Though basically healthy now, my body is not getting stronger, healthier or better. I am past “my peak” and will at some point become a drain on society and that is what I do not want. Well, read the article and you will see what I mean.

In the meantime I’ll do the things I enjoy the most: interacting with nature, loving God and people, and find a church or Christian fellowship. I believe I can do it with more freshness and adventure in a tropical rainforest! (I’m weary of everything American.) The move is already helping me simplify my life and slow down – just one adventure a week!  🙂  I think I will rest more, write more, create more photographic images. Of course having no grandchildren also makes it easier to go.

After I gain residency, I will get on the very affordable government healthcare program, CAJA, that will not likely try to over-extend my life and my advance directives are already in place. No more colonoscopies or worrying about my health, cancer, heart or stroke. When it is time to go, I will hopefully go quickly. Plus I have insurance that will fly my ashes back to Nashville to be buried next to Juli (If I haven’t donated my body to C.R. Medical School as I had planned for Vanderbilt in Nashville). Either way, a perfect ending.

In short, Dr. Emanuel’s philosophy seems to fit in with some of my unstated reasons for moving to Costa Rica. I’m nearing the end of my life and choosing to end it in a place I truly love. Simple.

And friend Robbie shared another quote that fits my big move:

Taking a chance and stepping beyond the safety of the world we’ve always known is the only way to grow.”
— Wil Wheaton,
American actor