Monday, August 27th, 2012

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.


19 Comments / Post A Comment

Megadith (#47,829)

Pretending there existed no emotional- or inconvenience-type repercussions for those who care about me and I knew my kitties would be fine, I'd call it at, like, 35.

I'm going long. After years of no-match 401k contributions, prudent investments and delayed gratification I'll retire with with enough socked away for a year and a half of fine living. 68.

Mount_Prion (#290)

For every metaphorical line life throws you in there is a metaphorical flying entertainment pig.

Cheer up!

The real question is how many more election cycles do you want to live through?

Trigger Burger (#237,207)

@Clarence Rosario Ah ha ha ha!

Trigger Burger (#237,207)

I am going to live to be at least 95. Yeah, it's usually relentless, depressing hell, but there are things that make going the distance worth it, like dogs, movies, music, love, and books. Plus old people are my favorite people, and I look forward to playing cards and chess with them.

barnhouse (#1,326)

The correct answer is always "Just a little while longer."

jfruh (#713)

I want to live as long as I can, no matter what the cost! Not because I love life or anything, but because I'm terrified of death.

barnhouse (#1,326)

@jfruh Exactly.

Drew Robertson (#3,552)

Sychronicity? Celerity? Singularity? Somethingity? 1001.

laurel (#4,035)

Even the profoundly smokey-drinky women in my family live to be 95. I'm going to live for fucking ever.

coreplane@twitter (#237,388)

@barnhouse pretty much has it right. The _real_ choice, when it's presented is always to die right NOW, or lose something. eg You can die now, today, or, say, give up mountain climbing and scuba diving. Easy choice for most, right? So far so good. Next time the choice might be die now, or accept that you can't run or lift anything over 40 lbs. Quick– do you want to see the sun tomorrow or not?

Answering in the abstract whether you'd mind dieing at an age you can't imagine being is meaningless.

deepomega (#1,720)

Depends – do I live those extra years in the same haze of dementia my grandmother's in? If so, then DECADES LONGER PLEASE. Gotta have some way to fuck up my great-grandkids or whatever.

flossy (#1,402)

@deepomega Heh. You said "Depends."

hockeymom (#143)

This came up the other night when my 12 yr old, like she does about once a month, asks me to promise not to die. I always tell her everything dies but I want to stick around long enough to see how she turns out. Then she says, you have to go to my wedding and meet my kids and be a great grandma.

When I leave the room I usually head straight out to seek out the 15 year old who always reminds me that if I departed next week, it might not be soon enough. And life is back in balance again.

Danzig! (#5,318)

Once powered exosuits hit the market, the olds will be unstoppable.

Educate yourselves, people:

flossy (#1,402)

At the very least, I want to live to enjoy a few years of "I can say and do whatever I want, and fuck you if you don't like it" old age badassitude.

Danzig! (#5,318)

@flossy Why wait for age to turn you into a conservative

shostakobitch (#1,692)

Throughout my college years and into my 20s I routinely said "30" and, now that I've been that age for 3 months, I feel that my original assessment was accurate.

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