STORRS, Conn. — At 59, I do not consider myself middle-aged. The odds of my living to 118 are the same as those of my becoming a prima ballerina, a particle physicist or a breeder of miniature giraffes. As interesting as those possibilities are, they’re not going to happen.

I’m more than halfway through this lifetime and while I’m not exactly flipping through the “Shrouds ‘R’ Us” catalog, I’m also not kidding myself that if I eat Gobi berries, cut out dairy and start mainlining pomegranate juice, I’ll be around to party like it’s 2099.

And yet I remain fascinated by studies, books and articles concerning the discovery that human beings can now hope to live until age 120, if that’s the sort of thing for which they hope.

The first time I remember paying attention to the mega-old was when the woman in France, Jeanne Calment, died at age 122 back in 1997. (I thought she was lying about her age, being a Frenchwoman, and just attempting to keep her reputation for girlishness, but apparently they verified her records.)

But now, according to Time magazine’s recent “Longevity” issue, it’s practically de rigueur to plan for one’s perhaps-not-exactly-roaring 120s. One of the articles is “How to be Wealthy at 100.” I guess it includes detailed instructions on how to have been born rich, because it just seems so much simpler that way, doesn’t it? (I haven’t had the chance to read that one yet.) But maybe it just focused on how to get a fair price for your collection of Hummel figurines or, more to the point, how to keep your family from circling your estate like hyenas at a kill.

I did, however, study carefully the advice column, “Long-Life Secrets from a Clam.” At first glance I’d misread the title and believed I would hear “life-long secrets.” Those, I thought, would be genuinely revealing. I imagined learning private details such as how to make my own pearls.

Frankly, I also thought, now that these 500-year-old mollusks were finally opening up, they’d let us know why they were always so enviably and colossally gleeful day in, day out, that all happiness is compared to theirs. Was it salt water? Was it keeping their mouths shut?

The truth, as many truths about apparently happy lives seem to be once you examine them, was disappointing. It turns out that to be as “happy as a clam” – or at least the secret to having remained alive since Henry VIII was on the throne – is all about protecting your proteins from damage. I thought it would involve more originality and more rigor, but that’s probably why my levels of gleefulness don’t match theirs.

I wouldn’t say to their faces that they’d perhaps prolonged existence past the point where it becomes wearisome – I wouldn’t say it even if they had faces. But it does make a person wonder.

So I wouldn’t be unduly saddened by the truly dull nature of the secret lives of bivalves, I swiftly turned to another article in Time, this one about how certain behavioral changes can improve the length and quality of life. Here, I thought, I can find a to-do list to invigorate my sense of well-being.

Here’s what I learned: I’m supposed to fidget more. Scientists argue any kind of movement helps you live longer. “Anything but sitting still … can add up.”

I spent my youth being whacked on the back of my head with a wooden spoon for fidgeting. Now being antsy is a wellness program?

In addition, “mindful meditation” will help us; I’ve practiced mindless meditation for years, usually during meetings. I hope that version counts. (To my credit, I usually also fidget; I multi-task.)

If I live as long as my oldest relative – my great-grandmother died at 99, never having had a day of exercise after leaving the fields in Sicily at 30, whereupon she sat down on a folding chair for the next 69 years – I’ve got some years in my account, if I’m lucky.

Tomorrow is promised to nobody, not even to clams. Just ask the ones I had for dinner last night.

Finally, there are conflicting reports on whether or not people live longer if they’re happy. That’s a longevity challenge I’ll happily accept: Why not hope for the best?