Although I've never been caught up by age, I turned 40 earlier this year, and I admit this number has given me pause. For me, it marks the start of thinking about my own longevity. With my first 40 years behind me, now I'm considering what the next 40 might look like.

Considering that life expectancy has risen from 47.3 years at the turn of the last century to 77.8 years as of 2005, it's not unreasonable for me to expect to live at least another four decades. But how I live — the quality of my health and life — is what I'm thinking about. As Joel Warner writes in this month's “How to Age Well,” (page 30), “The aging process isn't set in stone; it's the slow weakening of your body's building blocks, as well as the gradual decline of your natural repair processes.” Like everyone else, I intend to keep my systems in the best shape possible for the long haul.

One “slow weakening” on my mind is osteoporosis, which affects approximately 10 million Americans — most of them women. As detailed in “Stay Ahead of Osteoporosis,” (page 51), this potential deterioration can be countered with a number of solutions — from healthy eating habits and immune-system boosters to more sleep and exercise. There are, in fact, many things we can do to help us meet and exceed new age milestones in good shape mentally and physically. With the appropriate adjustments and smart strategies, I hope to think back on my 40s from the healthy perch of 80 — or older.

Also on my mind, and probably yours: the impending election. Whether your passion is the Farm Bill, school lunches, supplement regulations, or green initiatives, be sure to make your voice heard by voting on November 4.