Then my father died of a heart attack at 72 and my mother died of lung cancer at 69. They both had non-smoking, low fat, good exercise life styles.
I'm 52. It's possible I have 20 years more to live. or 17. or 40. or 1. Maybe I have just this month or just this minute. It makes a difference! I like to plan ahead.
I like planning ahead so much that at any given time our refrigerator has two weeks worth of menus posted under a magnet. Menus carefully designed to use the fresh produce from the refrigerator, rotate frozen items, and follow up with specific leftovers.
Just this morning I made my shopping list for Christmas Black Cake. That would be for Christmas 2012. I called La Cuisine to determine if they will have glace cherries and citron in the summer, or if I should stock them now since the fruit traditionally marinates in rum and wine for six months. This recipe comes via cookbook author, Laurie Colwin, who writes,
"There is fruitcake and there is black cake, which is to fruitcake what Brahms piano quartets are to Muzak. Its closest relatives are plum pudding and black bun, but they are mere third cousins twice removed. Black cake, like truffles and vintage Burgundy, is deep, complicated, and intense. It is light and dense at the same time and demands to be eaten in a slow, meditative way."
None of this answers my Big Existential Question about how long I will live and how to plan my life, but I certainly hope to make it to next Christmas!