Member Rara Avis
I think I would have understood LR's father pretty well. The young (and I was more guilty than most) believe they are willing to live life only on their own terms. They don't want to accept the infirmity of age nor the inevitability of dependence. They will live young, they cry out, or live not at all.
It is only later they will come to realize they have always lived life on its terms, not on their own.
Unless they walked on water or leaped over tall buildings in a single bound, they took the hand they were dealt at birth and played it, sometimes wisely, sometimes foolishly, but always with limited cards. Newton was never smart enough, Cleopatra never beautiful enough, and even our greatest heroes, from Hercules to Beowulf to that guy in a cape who really does leap over tall buildings in a single bound, were never quite strong enough. There is always infirmity, always the possibility and the wish for more. We strive where we can, accept where we can't, and trust me on this, we can accept a lot more than we ever believe possible. Ask Christopher Reeve, Michael J. Fox, or Stephen Hawking.
The question to ask yourselves isn't how long you want to live, but rather, how long you believe hope should remain alive.
What qualities of life do we value most? Your intelligence, your physical strength and speed, your beauty and sexual desirability, those all rest on a bell curve largely determined at the moment of conception. We rise, then peak all too quickly, after which it's all a swift, inexorable rush down hill. Courage and hope, however, respect no such bounds. If these qualities can be described by a mathematical curve, I have to believe it's one of our own choosing, one without the limitations imposed by the hand of nature. We chart our own course.
Your body will weaken with time. Eventually, it will fail you. Hope need not follow suit, however, and so long as we have a glimmer of hope for tomorrow there will remain a burning desire to see that tomorrow dawn.
How long do I want to live? Until I can find nothing else about which to dream.