Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Personality and Longevity

MSN.com is a wealth of information.  Imagine my surprise when I read an article on the website stating that personality traits play a role in the longevity  of life in people . . . imagine the surprise when I realized . . . like, wow . . . that I have a personality!  It was a pretty enlightening evening.

Now, in all honesty, I do not worry about the longevity of my life.  I figure that when God is ready for me, God will take me . . . knowing me well, God is in no hurry for me to join the heavenly choir any time soon.  God has heard me sing . . . it ain’t pretty.  Yet, at the same time, like everyone else, articles like this do pique my imagination . . . who wouldn’t want to know whether or not there are a few more years added on in the long run?  Deep down . . . I do.

The article stated that there are ten ways that one’s personality can effect longevity.  First of all, a study was done on 500 healthy participants—age 95 to 112 years olds—that basically stated that the best indicator of longevity was not lifestyle predictors, but how long the people’s parents lived.  This group did nothing that was considered to be healthy . . . nothing that the doctors asked them to do . . . and, they were all between the age of 95 and 112!  Half of them were overweight or obese . . . 60 percent of the men and 30 percent of the women had smoked for many years . . . few exercised . . . and, only two percent were vegetarians.  Now this sounds like my group of people . . . I like these guys!

Floored by these results scientists began looking for other factors—outside of the longevity of parents—to determine factors in helping to predict how long one might live.  Personality traits seemed like a good place to start.  Through research—which means it must be right—the scientists determined that there are ten personality traits that can affect the length of one’s life.

So, let’s begin . . . conscientiousness is the first trait . . . orderliness, prudence, persistence and responsibility.  Hmmm . . . I am pretty conscientious . . . I guess I can add a few years onto my life.  Yet, on the other hand, my conscientiousness drives other people crazy . . . that could take a few years off of my life . . . they might kill me if I am not careful!

Extraversion . . . being an extravert . . . can add years to one’s life.  This one made me cringe . . . scratch those years off.  I am an introvert and if being a person who needs to thrive on being around other people . . . talking to other people . . . acting like I like other people . . . well, I’ll never make it to a hundred much less seventy!  Shoot, I’ll be lucky to make it to sixty.  Darn extraverts win at everything!

Optimism . . . seeing the bright lining in every cloud . . . expecting the best . . . always seeing the glass half full.  Being optimistic can add years onto one’s life because there is less stress.  Stress beats the body down, takes years off . . . I am closer to a pessimist than an optimist.  I sort of flip flop back and forth.  I think that I am becoming more of a realist . . . when I see a cloud now-a-days, in the middle of this heat sucking drought, I don’t care if it has a silver lining or not . . . I want rain!  Lately, around our part of Montana, that is like a snow ball not melting in hell . . .

Other-oriented volunteerism . . . helping others.  This could add four years to a person’s life.  I think that this is an extravert sort of thing because it involves people.  I’m an introvert . . . people are okay as long as I don’t have to deal with them . . . volunteering to help others means people.  Knock off another four years off of the longevity of my life!
How this next one made the list, I’ll never know or understand . . . marriage.  Those who have solid marriages . . . stable, healthy marriages . . . live longer.  I don’t think those doing this research have ever been married.  Marriage is not for the faint-hearted . . . not for the weak . . . it is tough work making a marriage work.  It is hard work . . . maybe, the hardest work anyone will ever do.  Plus, I have learned, over the years, that it is best to agree with one’s spouse if one wants to live to see the next day.  “Yes, dear” should be included in the marriage vows.  But, hey!  If research says that being in a marital relationship can add to one’s longevity . . . well, after thirty-plus years, I might be around a little longer than I think . . . as long as I remember, “Yes, dear.”

Being industrious . . . hard work . . . a demanding career . . . can add years to one’s life.  Well, with the constant changes to retirement plans . . . the Internal Revenue Service constantly adding years to the retirement requirements . . . and, my lousy pension plan, I should be working well into my seventies.  I guess that qualifies for being industrious . . . I’ll never get to retire!

Career success.  Duh!  Successful people get rewarded for their success . . . they get raises . . . they get bonuses . . . they live in fancy neighborhoods . . . they become wealthy.  I guess they have never worked for the church or the state . . . at this rate I will probably never add any years to my longevity of life.   Despite my great efforts, my accomplishments, and constantly being praised for my work . . . state mandated freezes on salary does not do much for boosting one’s longevity in life.

Being a little neurotic . . . research shows that it is good to worry a little, but it is not good to go to the deep end.  This sounds like a plot to me . . . I wonder what they are up too!

Openness to new experiences . . . I am in mid-life at 55 years of age . . . every day that I wake up and discover myself alive is a new experience.  I am open to anything . . . well, most anything . . . as long as it doesn’t mean that I have to change and try new things.

Having a positive perspective on getting older . . . outside of the times that my adult children run circles around me . . . outside of the time that my one-year old granddaughter runs circles around me . . . and, leave me gasping for breath . . . I never think much about getting older.  In all honesty, I wish I had all of this wisdom back when I was younger . . . life would have been a whole heck of a lot sweeter.  But, right now, I do not worry about getting older.  I don’t have time . . . there is life to live right now in the moment!

So, there you have it . . . ten personality traits that can affect one’s longevity of life.  Since I just found out that I have a personality, do you think God will add a few years to how long I live?  According to my calculations, I should have died last month . . .

Oh well, I am still here.  Ignorance is bliss, and I am one of the most blissful people you will ever meet!  Here is to life . . . no matter how long it might be.  May it be a blessing to us all!

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