Yesterday I read an article by a Yasmeen Ali who is originally from Karachi but now lives in Lahore. It was about the common expression "Age is just a number". She concluded that it isn't, and I agree. Old age is full of problems and it's very difficult to grow old gracefully.

Next week I'll complete 78 years (which should surprise most Pakistanis, as life expectancy in the country is still around 60 or 65, depending on where one lives). I regret not exercising regularly, I have begun doing now what I should have done ten years ago. Unfortunately, my mistake has resulted in a very painful back and I have to do calisthenics regularly to reduce the pain. I've also started forgetting many things, perhaps it's due to the heavy medication I consume to keep me alive.

The main reason (and perhaps the only one) for having lived this long is that I never started smoking. When I had two stents inserted into my body twelve years back, the doctor said I had survived was due to not smoking and not eating red meat. Even today, my diet consists mainly of vegetables and chicken meat. 

If any of my descendants want my advice on how to live to a ripe old age (above 70), I would advise him or her to walk and exercise regularly and eat sparingly. My weight today is almost the same as it was fifty years ago. One way to do it is to refrain from eating in restaurants and at wedding dinners. You can't remain slim if you gorge yourself.