An online life expectancy calculator concluded that my check-out time is age ninety-two, but I don’t believe it for a second. For one thing, that would mean enduring eleven more presidential campaigns, which is unimaginable, but more importantly, the calculation did not include that both of my parents died in their early seventies, that I seek out stressful jobs, and that my childhood diet consisted of fried baloney sandwiches, nacho cheese Doritos, Little Debbie snack cakes, and Dr. Pepper. But hey, I’ll shoot for ninety-two and see what I get.
One thing in my favor is that I am not easily angered, and word on the street is that this is good for longevity. Other than the peaceful people on the maternal side of my family tree, I have no idea why it is difficult to get under my skin. But I’m happy it is true. (Of course I am, or at least I’m not upset about it!)
Frederick Buechner once wrote:
Of the seven deadly sins, anger is possibly the most fun.
To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king.
The chief drawback is what you are wolfing down is yourself.
The skeleton at the feast is you.
Anger simply isn’t worth it. This is easier said than done, although I have a suggestion that seems a bit counter-intuitive to a happy life at first: lower your expectations. I don’t mean lower your drive or goals or dreams, the fuel that makes life worth actually crawling out of bed in the morning, but I do mean living in reality enough to know that things rarely go as planned, and that that is okay.
Anger happens when life lets you down. Expect that life will let you down. Of all things, don’t let that come as a surprise.
For instance, I was told that I should live to age ninety-two. I’m not counting on it. (Cue Tim McGraw as I choose to live like I am dying!)