If we could all decide our fate,
And name our time of death and date,
Most all of us would check out late,
And queue en-masse at Heaven’s gate—
Arriving at the same damn time,
Procrastinators in a line,
Who’d put off dying long’s we could,
But just the same in coffin’s wood
Would all be lying stiff as boards
Awaiting judgment from our lords.
Though this is what we’d all prefer,
Yet most believe we must defer
To higher powers this life-length choice.
Sing halleluiah! Let’s rejoice!
But some there are that what they think’s
Our span of life’s not writ in ink,
But penciled on our page of fate—
A mere suggestion to a date—
Just change the pattern’s warp and weft,
To raise the sum of days we’ve left.
The starting point is what to eat.
The fare is spare and short on meat.
Less sweet desserts, less this and that,
A pan-caloric tit for tat
Less fat or carbs—just take your pick.
What works for some makes others sick.
More fibrous greens, organic fruit,
Whole-kernel grains, and tofu suit
The longer, leaner lifetime mess
(Though much of it be flavorless.)
Then what’s required is discipline,
And going placidly within—
A regimen of proper diet,
Avoiding all excess and riot,
Restraint in all save exercise
(In working out we’ll agonize.)
For fitness is the way to stay
About a longer time than they
That shirks their time inside the gym
To journey fat through thick and thin.
Hard work and sweat must now align
To gobble up great gobs of time—
Running, rowing, dance aerobic,
Pumping iron, and skipping ropic,
Swimming climbing, step and stretching,
Jogging to the point of retching—
Till weary rapture of corpuscle
Coursing through sore, aching muscle
Signals that this hard persistence
May have lengthened our existence.
Then free from guilt but fraught with pain
We pause to calculate our gain,
And find when appetite’s denied
That all life’s fruits are froze and dried,
And though we may have added years,
They’ll have to be reviewed through tears.
Oh, we can choose long life to live,
Knowing we’ve but one to give,
But racking life out to its limit
Sadly leaves scant living in it.