Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Live to 150 Years Old? Do I Want To?

I devour every article I can find on longevity. It is a tremendously important topic with broad reaching consequences for all of us. It's one of the reasons Rick and I wrote Don't Retire, REWIRE! If we are going to live longer, we better be constantly rewiring our minds and bodies to prepare for an extended future.

A recent article on the topic, brought me up short. The article, Who Wants to Live Forever? Scientist Sees Aging Cured, was written by Kate Kelland, the Reuters Health and Science Correspondent. She quotes Dr. Aubrey de Grey, the chief scientific officer of SENS, a non-profit foundation in California that specializes in rejuvenation therapy. He claims that the first person who will live to be 150 years old has already been born. The language used in the article is fairly technical and gives the scientific reasons why this can occur. Living to be 150 years old is scary to contemplate but I suspect not outrageous given the fact we have already had Jeanne Calment, a woman in France who lived to a documented age of 122.

But what I thought was equally interesting were some of the over 500 comments people left about the article on the internet. They were funny, thought - provoking and very honest-- a real stream of consciousness like we have with ourselves when the thought of living so long creeps into our psyche.

Among them were, "Does this mean the retirement age goes up to 140?"
"General Motors is going to hate this!!! My pension starts at 65!"
" I already feel like I'm 150 years old and I'm just past 50."
" Do I have to stay married to the same woman that long?????"
" Isn't earth crowded enough already."
" How many times can I transition to a new job?"
And then there are some I can't mention here, because they were a little too earthy!

The article concludes with the comment that "...the first person who will live to 1,000 is likely to be born less than 20 years after the first person to reach 150." Now that's a really scary thought! This is longevity run amuk. I guess we better rethink defunding NASA and start looking to the sky for more real estate. After all, where will we all live? As for Social Security and Medicare, there won't be enough paper to print the money needed. If we wait long enough, Mel Brooks' 2,000 year old man won't be fiction anymore.

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