Last week I read a story about Donald Henderson a U. S. Doctor who led the successful campaign to wipe out small pox worldwide. He was 87 when he died. He was hailed as a “giant” in the field of public health. He advised three Presidents. I wondered how many people read his obituary and how many people knew who he was?
Small pox was a highly contagious virus. It is the only infectious disease to have ever been eradicated. Smallpox has been recorded in the human population for over 3,000 years. A man who lived to 87 eradicated a virus that managed to live for 3000 years! Amazing! This man definitely proactively aged.
Proactive aging is a dedication towards something bigger than you. It transcends your aches and pains, your sadness and your pleasure. The eradication of anything that has the potential to create harm takes time, patience and dedication. All of those attributes can only come with time. With time come age and the question, “what are you doing with your time?” Most of us will never be the “giant” Dr. Henderson was, but we all have the potential to create a better world.
Violence has existed since the beginning of time. If you live to be 87 and beyond (and I hope you do) remember in 87 years you too can eradicate something that has lived for millions of years. Simply do your part to help your fellow humans and to protect the environment. Work to eradicate violence through benevolence and compassion and although you may never be called a “giant” together we can all make a giant difference!