Chapter 12 examines the effects of social connections on longevity, similarly to chapter 11. The chapter’s main take away is that those who reap the benefits of longevity in regards to social connection are those who have the most meaningful connections, instead of those who felt well connected with a smaller social circle. The chapter also looks into the significance of pets on longevity and it was extremely surprising to me that pets had no effect on life expectancy, even though they’re great stress relievers and reducing stress has been a common trend for positive effects in this book. I would like to know if this has changed in recent years or if the way we interact with our pets has, considering how many people I know whose pets are such a huge part of their life. The other section I was curious about seemed to say that social ties do more for longevity than modern medicine and I think that the book should have explained that a bit more instead of leaving it to a few sentences.
The idea of the larger social circle having such a large impact makes sense to me. When issues come up in life, the people that are there for you, or that you support aren’t always those who you expect. I hope that in the future, I am able to be part of such a support network, not for the longevity aspect, but for the community.
Ch.13 delves more into the gender disparities that have been present throughout the novel. Overall, it was found that more feminine people, regardless of sex, tend to live longer than more masculine people. It was also discussed that men who are widowed tend to pass soon after their wives, while widowed women tended to live quite long lives after their husbands passed. I don’t fully agree with using career paths to define masculinity and femininity, especially with my modern perspective, but it does make me wonder if these gender disparities in longevity would hold up in modern society considering the more relaxed gender roles.