The progress of medicine and public health has been an incredible boon – people get to live longer, healthier, more productive lives than ever before. Yet traveling along these altered paths, we regard living in the downhill stretches with a kind of embarrassment. We need help, often for long periods of time, and regard that as a weakness rather than as the new normal and expected state of affairs. We’re always trotting out some story of a ninety-seven year old who runs marathons, as if such cases were not miracles of biological luck but reasonable expectations for all. Then, when our bodies fail to live up to this fantasy, we feel as if we somehow have something to apologize for.
~Dr Atul Gawande in Being Mortal