Life: How Much Longer Do You Have To Keep Doing It?


How many years might be added to a life? A few longevity enthusiasts suggest a possible increase of decades. Most others believe in more modest gains. And when will they come? Are we a decade away? Twenty years? Fifty years? Even without a new high-tech “fix” for aging, the United Nations estimates that life expectancy over the next century will approach 100 years for women in the developed world and over 90 years for women in the developing world. (Men lag behind by three or four years.) Whatever actually happens, this seems like a good time to ask a very basic question: How long do you want to live?

I’ve been thinking about this very basic question for a while now, and weighing all the pros and cons—the fact that life is essentially a series of disappointments, underwhelming events, long waits in lines behind people who could care less about whether or not they are inconveniencing you through their own idiocy, the chance to experience the inevitable decline in your mental and physical abilities, and the opportunity to watch your loved ones die vs. the occasional enjoyable meal or movie that actually isn’t too bad—I’m going to say “28 years.” Which I guess puts me into suffering’s golden time right now. How ’bout you? Tell us in the comments. Or whatever. It doesn’t matter either way. Nothing does.