You’re Going to Live Till 120 — Start Acting Like It
Imagining a long, long life
Here’s a game: the next time you’re at a cocktail party, ask someone what they would do differently if they knew they would live a perfectly healthy life until they turned 120.
I can guarantee you that you will hear a fabulously uninteresting answer.
That’s because most people under the age of 50 simply don’t fathom a life into their eighties, let alone into their hundreds. We think of ourselves as having 70 good years, maybe 80 if we’re lucky, and then a slow and steady decline, which we hope will be relatively painless and devoid of disease.
But this is about to change.
In dozens of biology labs across the world, there are hundreds of scientists who are researching the process of aging, and their findings are starting to converge.
We’ve known for years that eating right, exercising, and not smoking can increase one’s life expectancy, but now we have ample evidence to suggest that other lifestyle interventions (such as intermittent fasting and caloric restriction) can measurably increase mammalian lifespans too.
Additionally, scientists have been researching the effects of several pharmaceutical interventions that have been shown to greatly prolong the healthy lifespans of mice and monkeys, with human trials already underway. There could be a suite of drugs that specifically prevent cellular senescence, DNA methylation, and many other hallmarks of aging.
Finally, thanks to recent strides in genetic engineering, researchers are exploring the possibilities of gene therapies that could halt or even reverse the aging process. While these are the most nascent developments, they are the ones with the greatest promise, since altering the genome of an embryonic organism can produce lifelong effects with no need for further interventions.
Between these three methods of intervention, it’s no longer science fiction to imagine a world where aging isn’t an inevitability.
My goal here, however, is not to convince you that you’re going to live forever. Rather, I want you to at least imagine a life in which you live for twice as long as you would’ve otherwise expected.
Even if you don’t believe the science (which is totally understandable since it can seem pretty crazy), it’s still a fun idea to entertain: imagine, what would you do if you knew you would live a healthy life until 120?
Does it radically alter your life plans? Does it lessen some of the pressure you feel to succeed while you’re young? Does it make you reconsider the proposition of till death to us part?
Even though lifespans into our early hundreds may be far more likely than we’re currently planning for, most of us are hilariously ill equipped for a life that would possibly double in duration.
My current challenge to you is to seriously reflect and consider the implications of radical life extension — even if you don’t particularly think it’s likely.
Start to imagine a life path that doesn’t end at 60, but ends at 100. Or not at 80, but 120.
When I fathom a life into my hundreds, it’s honestly thrilling to start fantasizing of all the countries I’ll get to visit, all the ice cream I’ll have time to eat, all the sex I’ll be able to have, all the books I’ll have time to write, all the instruments I’ll be able to learn, all the new people I’ll get to meet, and all the family celebrations I’ll be around for.
I urge you to take the time to consider the same.
Life is very sweet, and I plan on enjoying it to the fullest for as long as I can.
Thankfully, even though anti-aging research is only in its early adolescence, by 120-year-old standards, so am I! 👶