Time really flies. Many of yesterday’s adventurers are now an aging adventurers. I’m turning 51 in 2015. With age comes experience and a bit of spare time and affluence, but let’s not fool ourselves, physical performance will decline with age.
Back in the 1980s, 65 was considered the onset of old age. The latest “standard”, I heard, is 85. Thanks to modern medicine huge success in disease prevention, life expectancy has rising tremendously over the last few decades. But for the aging adventurer like me, terms like life expectancy and longevity hold little meaning. What is my quality of life going to be like at 65, 75, 85? The WHO thinks likewise so they’ve come up with terms like healthful longevity and healthy life expectancy. A person who is dependent on others to dress, bathe and feed him may have reached his healthy life expectancy when he suffered a stroke at 65. Technology, while pushing up life expectancy, has prolonged his misery.
We would all want our life expectancy to be very close to our healthy life expectancy even though there is no sure way of achieving that. By now, most educated people are well aware of the importance of healthy diets and exercise. Indulgence in rich foods, smoking, stressful, sedentary lifestyles are all causes of declining healthy life expectancy. While most city dwellers believing that hitting the gym will help them attain a high healthy life expectancy and see that as a means to an end, I prefer to look at training as a form of preparation for an appointment with Mother Nature. The sheer joy and spiritual experience derived from trekking in the Himalayas can never be found in the gym.
A friend who is a doctor once remarked that my travelling style is not “age-appropriate”. Indeed, my pursuits are anything but conventional. I know no other way. Training should not be performed to pass a test. It should lead to some passionate pursuit. The gurus and other health experts may not agree, so this aging adventurer will have to show what he can still do at 50 and beyond.