“The years of our life are seventy,
or even by reason of strength eighty” – Ps. 90:10
What do Bob Barker, Queen Elizabeth II, former “People’s Court” Judge Joseph Wapner, Betty White, Zsa Zsa Gabor, “Jeopardy!” announcer Johnny Gilbert, original “Let’s Make a Deal” host Monty Hall, Billy Graham, former US Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush, and a host of others, both celebrities and “average Joes,” have in common?
They’re all in their 90s!
Of course, some recent deaths were of nonagenarians (fancy word for “90-something”), one of which was Andy Rooney, the humorous commentator at the end of “60 Minutes.” Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who just turned 90, is the longest British monarch ever on the throne, recently beating the (in)famous Queen Victoria of the 1800s.
While the Scripture above is a generalization (especially being a Psalm verse), in its context, it still holds true today, at least for most people. Most senior citizen deaths tend to be in the 70s or 80s, but thanks to medical advances, many people are crossing their 90th birthday. (Comedian George Burns turned 100 in 1996, but soon died.) Zsa Zsa Gabor may likewise have the same triple-digit experience if she reaches 100 next year. Many 10-year-olds are uneasy about double digits, but triple digits? Now that’s quite a feat! (Of sorts)
A lot of Scriptures promise long life to those who believe in and obey God, but even atheists like the late Andy Rooney, enjoyed a long life. So that’s a matter, perhaps to be discussed another time, that is very strange. I’ll have to investigate that. But again, God alone is the sovereign judge, so we have no business questioning Him. (At least in that case; science is a form of that in some ways, but that’s beside the point)
Of course, very old age like that can be both a blessing and/or a curse (depending on your opinion). While God might be blessing us with years with our fellow people we know and love, He is also delaying the glory a Christian will have with God and His people in heaven. And as we continue as earthlings, life only gets harder, due to the sundry troubles of aging and our responsibility to take care of ourselves to keep us healthy and able for as long as possible. But in the end (at least optimally), only God should take a life. And apparently, many senior citizens still enjoy their lives, despite all the aches and pains.
At 28, I should appreciate and enjoy these latter days of my 20s (which, as the first and most youthful decade of adulthood, is often viewed by the public as the best, and indeed is physically.) But again subsequent decades, like the thirties, forties, and even fifties, can be viewed just as “prime” as the twenties, in their own ways.
And I’m already on my way! For example, I feel quite convinced of a receding hairline. So my whole aging process is dawning, but again, you’re only as young as you feel!
My great-grandmother (anonymous) died at 97. She had great-great grandchildren as well. And as the quote says by “reason of strength,” good bodily upkeep is paramount in living a long life. But no matter its “actual” length, life is still short, and the biological clock keeps ticking. Make the most of everyday, because you’re not promised tomorrow.
And yes, Monty Hall, a living nonagenarian mentioned above, also hosted a short-lived incarnation of the US game show “Beat the Clock” in the 1979-80 season. The biological clock though, is beyond our control to “beat!”