If We Live to 150, then 80 is the new 50…?!

Last night I watched the Barbara Walters Special on ABC — Live to 150. A few years ago, I’m sure I watched another show that talked about living to 125 so the advances in longevity research in just a few short years have had a quick impact on projections of lifespan. According to the program, the last year alone has brought incredible new information to the table and that follows the past 30 years of an increased pace of discovery through the marvels of scienctific research.

I’ve included a couple of links for readers who missed the show and would like a bit more info, but here were the talking points that completely jazzed me.

1) Aging is being looked at as a disease, with diabetes and alzheimers being the greatest enemies of aging. So rather than looking to prolong life with miracle remedies, scientists are looking at how to isolate and treat the aging genes, which in turn, will promote a longer, healthier life span.
2) There is a chemical in red wine that does, in fact, help prolong life. Don’t start drinking the red stuff, though…you’d need to drink 1000 bottles a day to get enough resveratrol to prolong life. However, studies on lab rats are really promising. Even the obese rat lived 30% longer, with greater energy, than the healthy rat with no drug intervention.
3) Body parts are already being grown through stem cell cloning– including hearts and other vital organs.
4) My child may find she lives a healthy several hundred years.
5) Extreme caloric reduction does help resist aging. I, however, would not enjoy life with extreme caloric reduction, so I’ll have to hope for the red wine intervention.
6) 80 will become the new 50.

That is where I had to pause and take a big breath. If we live that much longer, that means that we will have to find a way to financially support ourselves throughout a longer life span. The ageism that we are now experiencing in job search, will advance about…30 years…and at 50 we’ll only be at early-mid career. At 80 corporations will start weeding us out. If you stayed in one job for your lifetime, you could technically be with one employer for 60 years (oh lordy!), which would never fly…basic cost of living salary increases alone would have you earning far more than any job was worth by the time you’d be…I don’t know…75ish?

Small business ownership would thrive, with the median owner age being…what…90? As a mom, I’d be able to give my child unsolicited advice for…130 odd years. Oh my.

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The implications of just ONE of any of the many advances affecting our general population would mean a redefinition of career and jobs, employment environment, health care, marriage (yikes..being married to the same fella for 120 years? Doubtful.), child rearing, family living, world population, financial impact (would only the rich, rich be able to live a long life? What about a 120 year old blue collar worker? How would he/she make ends meet?), financial planning, pharmaceutical strategies, housing…even death planning. That is just touching the tip of the iceberg.

Divorce rates, for example, have increased over the decades, not (in my opinion) due to more lax divorce laws. No…I believe it is because people are living longer. If women don’t die in childbirth in their 40’s, or men in their 50’s, then married folks have to live together for that many more years. What will happen when a couple marries in their twenties? Perhaps renewable marriage contracts every decade? Perhaps NO marriage? Who would commit for 130 years to ONE person? Call me flighty, if you must…but not me, that’s for sure!

And if I changed jobs every 5 or so years, forget the one-page resume. I’d need about 10 pages by the time I was 85!

The advances are fascinating and actuaries are already sharpening their pencils in glee.

http://www.bizjournals.com/eastbay/stories/2008/03/31/daily20.html

http://www.newsday.com/news/health/ny-ettell5632893apr01,0,5189932.story

6 thoughts on “If We Live to 150, then 80 is the new 50…?!

  1. I saw the show, too, Janet. As always, I got to wondering: could serial marriage be the norm in America?

    They mentioned this ideal near the end of the program as a byproduct of extended longevity. It made quite an impression on me. So, I’m asking fellow bloggers to chime in…(there’s a full discussion on my blog)

    Can’t wait…thanks!

    Dina
    This Marriage Thing

  2. It is interesting, isn’t it, Dina? If I were married to the same person for 120 years…would I want to live that long?? In addition to having the same sexual partner for just far too long (along with everything else that is partnership), I’d might possibly be a great, great, great grandmother to boot. And very high botox and hair coloring bills 😉 I’ll pop by your blog to see the discussion.

  3. I missed the show, but I was curious, as I’ve always intended to live at least to 100!

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind being married to my husband for 120 years, but we have no kids and I think that makes a big difference.

    Interesting you mention the question of how to support ourselves. Considering social security was only supposed to support us for a very short time (when the average lifespan in those days was mid-60’s and SS started at age 60), we’ve seen how that’s gone all wrong now with people living into their 80s on a regular basis.

    I just wouldn’t want to live that long unless I was relatively healthy, which is the argument I hear all the time against my living to be 100. Everyone I know expects to be debilitated by that age. Why?

  4. Hi Lisa — glad to hear you could see yourself with your hubby for 120 years. That gives me hope! And if the scientists can find the path to keep my cells replicating, I’m all for it.

  5. You know, even though it sounds daunting, I wouldn’t mind being married to my husband for over 100 years.

    It’s not because he’s so great (although he is a good catch). It’s because of that old expression: you never step in the same river twice.

    My dad used to say he was married to five women who all happened to be my mother. Each phase of life brought him a new partner to learn to love, or at least live with.

    So, I think I’ll have many husbands, and hopefully, each new one will be better than the last!

  6. That’s a great way to look at marriage. You’ve given us an interesting angle to ponder!

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