HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) – People who are not positive about aging die seven and a half years earlier than those who are positive, according to a study backed by the World Health Organization.

“The year after a man retires, he is at most risk of death. And those who do better have a plan to stay engaged, stay connected,” said Hillsborough resident and author Steven Petrow.

Inspired by his parents, Petrow uses humor, satire, and life experience to perhaps save a life or two. His new book “Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I Get Old” is actually a serious topic.

“I’ve talked about the fact that we need like a Surgeon General’s warning that says ageism is dangerous to your health because it really is,” he said.

Petrow brings up the fact that while it is a no-no to make fun of people who are different, there’s often an unfortunate exception when it comes to the older population. There are a plethora of age-related memes that make light of growing old. That’s not to mention jokes and greeting cards.

“It’s kind of funny, but it also kind of shows that we’re making fun of her and we do that a lot,” Petrow said.

Joked about or not, everyone wants to live the longest their golden years will allow. With good health, that’s going to take having a plan to live while living that doesn’t include sharing stories of your bodily ailments.

“I like to call them perennials. They’re not millennials or boomers, they’re perennials because they’re passionate to be any age you can — 25, or 50, or 80. It’s about your attitude” he said.

At 64, Petrow, leading by example, recently took paddleboard lessons.

“I just hope people will become more comfortable with who they are and that we’ll realize that being older is a gift and a blessing in many ways and love it and live with it.”

Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh will host a book reading with Petrow on Wednesday at 7 p.m.