I rarely feel so vexed by Guardian opinion pieces as I was by the recent column by Gaby Hinsliff (Who wants to live to 100 on a diet of lentil and broccoli slurry? Mostly rich men, 26 November). Her disdain for rich men (not vexing) seemed conflated with disdain for various health practices which, with slightly altered wording, could be described as perfectly reasonable.
For example, a breakfast of a “blended green slurry of lentils, broccoli and mushrooms” could easily be rewritten as a “delicious spiced lentil stew”. And why is someone who is “religious about his sleep” denigrated for it? If more people prioritised it, health outcomes would improve, easing the strain on health services.
Instead of asking “Who wants to live for ever?”, Hinsliff could just as well ask the reader “Who wants to get cancer and die a slow, painful death?” If I answer no, am I a narcissist with an immortality obsession?
• I was grateful for Gaby Hinsliff’s article, as I suspect were many of your older readers. I would prefer to cease upon the midnight with no pain than continue to live with increasing frailty and dependence. I am 84 and, though I still have my marbles, have painful arthritis and a lack of physical and social confidence brought on by the long years of the pandemic. I’m not strong enough to help my busy family with chores or look after them if they are ill, so I’m no use to anyone.
People will suggest the University of the Third Age and being more active socially – but one becomes very diffident when one knows how little one has to contribute. There must be thousands of people like me, stranded in what feels like a half-life compared with what we knew.
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