Why Do Trees Live a Long Time? – A Reflection about Age

portrait 2After turning half a century this week, I was reflecting on the subject of age.  “Half a Century” sounds very old to us humans but when you think about it, relative to old things, fifty (50) years is practically just a small blip in the time radar.   Okay I maybe just making myself feel good here, you say.  I admit, there’s a little bit of that, but fortunately  I do have my bonsai trees to keep me in perspective.  The oldest one in my collection is 300 plus years old.  Compared to that tree, I feel like a baby.   I do feel great! I do take care of myself  “most of the time” but I’m not a tree.  So I started asking a question of what makes a tree live long?  Google has the answer:

“the retention of stem-cell-like meristematic cells after each growth cycle; the ability to replace non-vigorous, lost, or damaged organs, both above and below ground, in the presence or absence of trauma; a sectored vascular system that allows part of a tree to survive where a whole one cannot; formation …”

In other words, trees have the ability to regenerate new vigorous young cells.  If only humans can bottle that up, then we have the “fountain of youth”.  Maybe we already do?  Is it called steroids?  Not sure.

Until that fountain of youth becomes available I will need to deal with human age my own way.  Here’s what I do for me:

  1. Age is relative.  Compared to an old tree I’m just a young sprout.
  2. Stay Healthy.  I think the reason trees don’t have cancer is that they don’t smoke or drink alcohol, don’t eat candy (sugar). they don’t stress about work or their love life.  However,  I know they like being outdoors, love sunshine, and love to drink water.  I do drink alcohol once in a while but in moderation and it cancels my stress.  I try to eat healthy and in moderation.
  3. Exercise.  I have to move and break sweat about 3 times a week.
  4. Check my Attitude.  I keep things in perspective and try to think optimistic.  I minimize negativity.
  5. Keep learning and stay humble.  I heard at some point that when you stop learning you stop growing.  That means  when you stop growing you’re probably dying.  I try to learn new things to help keep me growing as a person.  I humble myself and admit that I have many things I need learn.
  6. Gratitude.  I count my blessings from the smallest things.  Thankful of my family and  friends.
  7. Share.  I try to share when I can, knowledge, time, or treasure.

This may not be the key to living to 300 years old but it sure does help me keep me feeling like a young sprout.


Published by tony bonsaiko

My little trees are my daily reminders of our grand connection to this beautiful and mysterious universe.

3 thoughts on “Why Do Trees Live a Long Time? – A Reflection about Age

  1. After reading your article on why trees live so long I also will try to use your steps in good ageing. At the young age of 72
    I am still learning what fun Bonsai can be. Being in the possession of several Ponderosa trees in seedling form (only takes 2000 years to develop) and next month will be starting a few dozen Bristlecone pines (they only take 2500 years to develop. Hope I am around with good attitude. It will be fun to see what happens.

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