According to the July, 2007 issue of the Harvard Health Letter, the average life expectancy in the United States is 77.6 years, compared with 75.4 in 1990.Furthermore, old age begets older age. Today, a 65-year-old American man can expect to live to 81.6; if he reaches the age of 85, he can expect to live to see 90. Women still outlive men, although the gap is closing, but the same demographic pattern holds. Old age adds to life expectancy.
We accept that we will live longer than our parents.Some of us commit to making our retirement much better than the one our parents had.But even the innovative Baby Boomers tend to think along the same lines as previous generations when it comes to retirement plans.Make a lot of money, quit working, have some fun, play golf, travel, play with the grandkids then get sick, go to a nursing home and wait to die.I know, it’s a depressing thought.
Why do we think this way?Because we assume we are going to get older and die.Why?Because that is the way it has always been.WOW! Try that reasoning in a corporate boardroom and see how fast you can lose your executive parking space.
So what are the alternatives?No one wants to live forever if they are going to be feeble, bedridden or mentally impaired.But what if the “new 150 years old” was like the old 70 years old?If you have any passion for living, that idea might look pretty inviting.
Right away you assume there are thousands of scientists in the world working hard to find a way to keep you alive and kicking for the next hundred years…at least that is what maverick genius, Aubrey de Grey, assumed.He was a high tech computer and artificial intelligence PhD when he married a geneticist.Intrigued by her work, he decided to go to Cambridge and get a PhD in biology and then rub elbows with the world’s foremost scientists in the area of aging. *
Surely, he was going to find a solution to his mortality was just around the corner.But guess what?No one was even looking for a way to defy old age and death.The scientists he met were looking for the elusive and mostly theoretical “whys”.De Grey didn’t care why he was going to get old and die.He wanted to see the engineer’s approach; here is a problem, find a solution.He was very upset that the biologists just accepted the fact that aging is responsible for the deaths of 100,000 people every single day.
In his 262 page “Ending Aging”, De Grey states that aging should be treated as a disease and everyone’s focus should be on curing it. A $20,000 prize was offered to the molecular biologist who could prove De Grey’s theory was wrong. It was snatched up by a group of scientists who submitted the rebuttal.At first, De Grey was ridiculed and treated like a heretic (Galileo comes to mind).Then the M.I.T. Technology Review stepped in to examine the challenge made to De Grey’s plan.After the challenge was studied, the M.I.T. Technology Review determined it had no scientific validity (talk about shutting up the arrogant loudmouths).
Since the absolution, De Grey has become a celebrity of sorts and has drawn attention and contributions to his Methuselah Foundation. This attention may cause a few geniuses to look for a solution to his problem.What does that mean to you and me?It means you shouldn’t use your parent’s retirement guide.Be creative, think of the possibilities.Who knows, in thirty years or less, you may have a heart attack that is treated by injecting tiny nano-machines into your bloodstream.The next morning, you wake up with the circulatory system of a teenager and an entire “second adult life” ahead of you!What shape would your life be in if you had planned on being dead?
1.Get out of your rut and imagine the possibilities
2.Plan to have a constant flow of passive income.
3.Use all of your life experience to improve the next the next thirty years (learn from your mistakes).
4.Get serious about taking care of your mind and body (at least until the nano-machines are available).
5.Dump the negative and grab the positive.Hang out with people who are younger, smarter and richer.Keep your mouth shut, watch, listen and learn.
6.It is time to prioritize your needs.You can best help the ones you care about by loving and improving yourself first.
7.Maintain your focus.Everything you do should contribute to a measurable improvement in your:Physical Health, Mental Health, Bank Account or Love and Sex Life.
If your idea of fun is sitting on the couch, eating nachos and watching ball games all weekend, you are probably not reading this article.My point is, most of us live sheltered lives and our youth disappears while we try to figure out what to do with ourselves.Now there is a real possibility that we can have a great “second adult life”.Some smart Baby Boomers see this as a fantastic opportunity, a rare “second chance” and plan to milk it to the max.It may take an attitude adjustment, a new outlook, and definitely a new retirement plan but you have the same opportunity; grab it or watch it disappear.
“The Week”, a division of Dennis Publishing, November 16, 2007Volume 7, pg 52″Mr. Immortality”.