Inspiring people to think about the future

When I’m 150

Living to be 150 and beyond

Researchers are trying to extend human life an additional 30 years within the next decade. It is possible that the first person to live to be 150 years old has already been born.(Heartland Arts/shutterstock.com)

It is very possible that I will live to be 150 years old…and my kids can be expected to live even longer!

Researchers are trying to extend human life an additional 30 years within the next decade. If you can believe that living to 150 is possible, would you also believe that living to 1,000 is also possible?

Aubrey de Grey, a leading expert on aging, also says that the first person who lives to be 1,000 is only 10 years younger than the first person to live to be 150. Wait, what?

Currently, scientists have been able to prolong human life 0.2 years for every year that passes. As they begin to unlock the code of senescence (the process of aging) they will be able to increase the rate. Once researchers can prolong life 1 year for every year that passes, called longevity escape velocity, humans can pretty much live indefinitely.

Now who would want to live to be 150? That sounds terrible. I mean, who would want to have the inconveniences of old age for an extra 70 or 80 years? That doesn’t sound like too much fun. I care about how I live and the quality of my life.

What if our concept of old age is wrong? What if they can redefine your meaning of old age? What if they extend the most vibrant years of your life? What if you could be 29 for 50 years? Haven’t you heard that 40 is the new 30? What if 80 becomes the new 40?

Is that really inconceivable? The oldest known person lived to be 122. Life expectancy has increased dramatically in the 20th century due to improvements in healthcare, sanitation, and safety. When my parents were born, they were expected to live until their 60s. When my grandparents were born, they were expected to live until their 50s. Today, my grandmother is alive and well at the ripe old age of 97!

I believe that it is possible for me to live to be 150…but why stop there? There is this theory that every living thing has maximum life span. Some propose that the upper limit to human life is 126. However, there are examples of some animals (e.g. jellyfish, koi, and lobsters) that don’t seem to die or have incredibly long life spans. This calls into question the assumption that all life has an upper limit.

It doesn’t mean that humans are immortal or invincible. People can still die from accidents or suicide. It’s just that humans won’t die from old age, disease, or even cancer.

Can this world even support a growing population of old people that never die? What happens to global resources? What happens to social security? What happens to Medicare? What happens to jobs if people never retire? What happens to prisoners with life sentences?

Society will need to rethink entire social systems if scientists really do unlock the fountain of youth.

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