“Happy birthday to you”. The strains of the familiar song was belted out by the assembled group. I looked at the huge cake before me with 100 spelled out with candles glowing brightly.
I scanned the crowd around me, there was one other centenarian there besides me. It was the year 2038 and the life expectancy was now 90, it was about 60 when I was born.
“How did you manage it? Living to 100, I mean, and in such good shape,” said my friend Harry, who was 90.
“Red wine and Manuka honey,” I smiled.
“Hey, that sounds good!” shouted Harry.
“Did you have many worries as you grew older,” said Jenny, who was 80.
“I’ve had a few worries through my life, but I’ve tried to keep them to a minimum. But when I hit 70, my biggest concern was not how long I would live, but how I would age and what my quality of life would be.”
“Blow out the candles!” cried Ellen, who was 86.
I blew them out easily and made a wish. The group clapped.
“Well, you’ve done better than Mozart’s nine children,” said John, who was 75, a mere youngster!
“How’s that, John?”
“Only two of his children made it to adulthood! Those two only got older by luck!” laughed John.
“Well, when I was 70, I felt I still had some tread on my tires, but as the years went by, I started to feel the road more and more. But I still can get around fairly well with the help of my cane.”
“I used to take life with a grain of salt. Now, I take a few milligrams of Valium!”
I laughed, John was the joker in the group.
Smiling, John continued: “We erode from the outside and from the inside. Isn’t that right, Dave?”
“That’s right, John, but it’s no joking matter!”
John went silent for a moment.
“Our outsides age with sunlight, rain, wind and cold. Our skin starts wrinkling. Our insides age with chemical reactions that generate trash in our system and then cells die. This rubbish accumulates over time and this is called aging. Some cells renew themselves, but not all.”
“Hey, Dave, lighten up! The rest of us want to live to 100 also!”
“Sorry people, the lighter side is that there is some self-repair and healing.”
“So what’s the end result?”
“Well, my friends, lets put it this way; there’s wear and tear on all of us, outside and inside, but some parts do repair themselves and this process equals aging!”
“Bring on the red wine and Manuka honey if this will protect me from becoming a gibbering sad old freak!” said John.
“Hurray for us!”
The entire Writing Group, all 20 of us, raised our glasses. We were all laughing our heads off!
“My doctor told me, laughter was the best medicine, I’m surprised they don’t charge us for it!”
Where would we be without John to lighten our day?
I continued: “We all write to keep our brains and senses stimulated. Creativity keeps you engaged with the world. We older people want to entertain and inform our readers. Even though we are not jumping around physically, we can express ourselves in our writing and get it out into the world. Creativity makes you feel alive!
The entire group shouted in unison: “We Are Writers!”
You need a passionate interest to keep you going!
We all went home that day standing a little straighter!
BRING ON THE RED WINE AND MANUKA HONEY!
Note: Manuka honey is called the “healing” honey, known for being high in antioxidant properties and having anti-bacterial healing powers. The bees collect the nectar from the Manuka trees in New Zealand. This honey destroys harmful bacteria without damaging body tissue.