Genetics

DNA

I chose good parents.

While there are a lot of things we can, and often should, do to keep ourselves healthy and long-lived, there are two that are major influences that are completely out of our control: genetics and random chance.

I keep seeing reports that some are starting to believe that it’s chance — the luck of the draw — that’s responsible for more cancer than previously understood. I guess I’m grateful for my luck so far, but honestly … it’s my genes I appreciate more.

Family history appears to be an even greater predictor for things like longevity than just about anything else.

Unfortunately many people don’t understand or can’t accept that because they’re looking for absolutes. Having a great family history doesn’t mean you will live longer. It simply means you have a greater chance of living longer. Or perhaps, factoring in things like lifestyle, a great family history gives you a greater opportunity to live longer.

A healthy family history won’t protect you from binge drinking yourself to an early grave, for example. Though, it may decrease the chances that you’d be predisposed to do so.

I’m grateful for the health of my ancestors. By and large they were healthy and lived long – often well into their 80s. Those that died earlier can often be tied to external factors, such as lifestyle or chance.

I try to further stack the deck my genes have given me by trying to live a relatively healthy lifestyle. But there are no guarantees — only probabilities and chance.

I’m grateful for my chances.