The indoor tennis season has started up again, and there were the “old guys” on the far court almost every time I arrived. Some barely move, their strokes are often raggedy, and lobs and dinks are a key part of their game. I heard that one of them had turned 90 recently.

Dave is always quick with jokes and clever retorts. I asked him how he was able to live so long? What had he done right? “Suffer,” he said instantly and with a twinkle. “I have suffered a lot, and that’s what has kept me going.” He also said that he was the last of his closest five friends to still be alive.

How have you been able to keep playing tennis? Again he answered brilliantly, “One word…when the ball comes to my side of the net, I turn to my partner and say, ‘YOURS.'” He is always good for a chuckle or laugh.

But his birthday was a real confront. I found that I was actually jealous. A good high school friend of mine died last month…had a stroke when he was packing some boxes and died in the operating room. Many others are gone, of course. So I found myself hoping, longing to be 90 years old. It would mean that I will live 18 more years. I will see my younger kids marry, maybe even the older kids’ kids (my grandkids) marry. I will watch the world evolve, however warmly, spend more time with friends, read more books, etc etc. And maybe I could be one of those rare birds who plays tennis into his 90’s. It’s a real dream for me to live that long. And stay healthy.

I know, I know. Most people equate aging with decay and the inability to do what you could do when you were young and healthy and fit, without having to go to a gym or watch what you ate. The food sludge from years of indifference hadn’t yet clogged up your tubes, a few smokes hadn’t yet blackened your lungs, and a cut or sore would heal in hours rather than take weeks.

Nevertheless. I’d be thrilled to make it to 90 and have all those additional hours of good living–and good tennis–part of my history. Stay tuned…