A few articles on the subject of longevity have got my attention recently. Some of the technology advances for improving healthcare and increasing life expectancy are incredible.
Around 100 years ago, people lived to the age of 30 on average. Today, more and more people are reaching their 100th birthday.
But here's something about this discussion doesn't sit well with me:
The argument for greater life expectancy misses this point: what will we do with that 'extra time'?
Most of us sail through life with the assumption that we'll more or less retire around the age of 65 and live out the rest of our days on the golf course.
But that's a dangerous assumption to make in my view. Here are 5 questions to get you thinking about a possible alternative lifestyle:
#1: If you live to 100, does that make you 'old' at 65?
If we consider human life where we're young at one end and old at the other, would you want to be "old" at 65, knowing you've another 35 years of good living ahead of you?
#2: Do you really want to retire at 65?
Retiring at 65 may make sense at that age if you've saved up enough (research shows shows that won't happen to many), but the thought of spending 35 years of extra time on the golf course would bore me silly. I'd really want to do something else with that extra time.
#3: Why not retire at 25, and again at 35, and again at 55?
Why not take that extra time and reconfigure your life in such a way that you take out frequent periods of rest and recovery throughout your life. Besides, you may need to - for rest and recovery, for training, for reinventing yourself, for life's curveballs.
#4: How many new friends have you made this year?
If we look at our parents' generation, the friends they made early in life were the friends they kept later in life. They moved through life in lockstep. But with so much change these days, we're increasingly falling out of lockstep and losing contact more often. Constantly investing in new friendships is vital for mental health and wellbeing, especially as we get older.
#5: How many times will you reinvent yourself?
Yuval Noah Harari writes that the biggest skill of the 21st century is the ability to reinvent ourselves - again and again. Problem is, it's easy when we're younger. The older we get, the more difficult it becomes. But in a rapidly changing world, would you consider reinvention yourself at 60 or 70?
If you knew you had 100 years to live, how would you take that extra time at the end and put it to better use throughout your life?
May the wind be at your back.
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