We talk about the inevitability of being forced to reinvent yourself in the last stage of your life when you gradually become disabled by disease and old age. It’s a reinvention of mindset, if not of action.
It’s also a glass half full vs. glass half empty kind of conversation with me saying, “But Sam, I’m one of those who really doesn’t want to think about the end of life.” And Sam responding, “Well, you have to.”
The good news is that you can think about “the hard stop,” as I call it, in a positive way. If this all sounds like doom and gloom, it’s really not. The episode is an affirmation of the time that we have left and how we can use mindfulness around our own mortality to live better lives.
If you’ve been following our conversations on the podcast you know that Sam is very practical but also pretty wise. You’ll get a dose of his trademark dry humor in this episode which always makes the subject more tolerable.
What we talk about:
- – How getting closer to the end-of-life connects to the desire for reinvention that many of us crave
- – Dr. Doom vs. Dr. Look Ahead: becoming more aware of the healthy time we have left is helpful
- – Active reinvention vs reinvention imposed on us as our lives become more limited through the disability of old age
- – Sam’s XYZ options as he looks ahead: both mental & physical challenges
- – Debunking the idea that we’re all living longer and that life expectancy is increasing. Not so, Sam says, if you define “living” as being vibrant and healthy
- – The fear of dependency as you get very old (past 90 or 100)
- – Looking at our parents’ health to get an idea of how we might age
- – The difference between Medical Aid in Dying (MAD) and euthanasia
- – On the topic of legacy: a traditional Jewish saying when someone dies is “May his or her memory be a blessing” (See links below to 75th commemoration of Auschwitz liberation)
Mentioned in this episode:
- – S1-EP2: Debbie and Sam on Deciding to Take a Gap Year at 62
- – S1-EP5: Dr. Sam Harrington on Writing His First Book After Taking a Gap Year
- – Sam’s book: AT PEACE: Choosing a Good Death After a Long Life by Samuel Harrington, MD (Hachette, Feb. 2018)
- – Sam’s website: samharrington.com
- – Sam’s bio
- – Dying Healthy (“Virtually all humans will die before age 90 years.”) by George Annas (Annals of Internal Medicine, Oct. 2018)
- – Commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz 75 years later (ABC News, Jan. 27, 2020)
- – Auschwitz survivors return after 75 years for memorial ceremony (The Guardian, Jan. 27, 2020)
P.S. If you are enjoying the podcast, please leave a review. It means so much and it helps the podcast continue to get more listeners.