Forget multivitamins or fish oil, or whatever’s billed as the secret to longevity these days. The REAL secret is not just to live long, but to live long HAPPILY. Right? And I know the secret to that: puppies.
It’s true; I have proof. The other day I called back home to North Carolina, expecting a nice long chat with my 80 year-old mom. My dad picked up, but instead of the usual, “Hi–let me get your mother,” he said, “Martha’s at a meeting.”
“Oh.” OK, this is going to be a short phone call. “Well, how are you? What’s been going on?”
Plenty, apparently. He started talking–mostly about the two new puppies he and my mom just brought home. They’ve been sending pictures, so this wasn’t news.
What WAS news was how much OTHER news my dad had to share. We talked about his recent trip. My recent trip. The puppies. A book he loved. A book I loved. The puppies. My children/his grandchildren. My cousin. Puppies.
When I hung up, my phone informed me we’d been talking on the phone for FIFTY-FIVE MINUTES. For my practically phone-phobic, 85 year-old, serious scientist dad? That’s a world record by more than double.
At first I couldn’t figure out what had made him so chatty. Then it came to me: he’s happy! He’s practically giddy with joy. And why wouldn’t he be? He has these guys to play with:
I KNOW, right?
I’m not really suggesting anyone give up vitamins or fish oil. But I do think it’s worth considering the power of something utterly charming to boost the latter years of a long life. I’m going to remember that when I’m 85.