There is a lot of talk, and a lot of hype, around living super long lives. Bloggers, wellness experts, and biohackers continue to push the idea that we can live to be around 120 years old, with some pushing to reach 150 years old. The truth is that we appear to be genetically designed and wired to make it to roughly 120 years old. Another truth is that we live in a pretty lousy environment these days, with poorer air quality, reduced nutritional quality, exposure to toxic chemicals on a daily basis, higher than acceptable stress levels, and overall reduced daily activity levels. So, while we likely can make it to 120 years old, odds are actually now working against that.
Another factor to consider is that, while the number of years you live is appealing to think about, the quality of those years is so much more important. While all these so-called wellness experts throw the word longevityaround, we have to remember that longevity is defined as long life. Of course, a long life is much more appealing than a short life, but your goal should be to have an awesome life.
The next step would be to have a little clarity on what an awesome life really is to you. I believe an awesome life is loaded with experiences, excitement, deep, meaningful relationships, love, high energy, little pain, and near-full function. That being said, the ideal goal would be to lead a long AND awesome life.
It would be wise to begin with the assumption that you are going to live to a ripe old age, and then care for your body and design your life in a way that allows you cruise into that old age in a way that you can continue to tap into the joys of life, feel good, and avoid becoming a burden on your family and society. This requires maintaining optimal health, creating financial security (ideally abundance!), a positive attitude, and never-ending quest to continue creating and learning.
There is a quiet, but notable, shift occurring in the age of our population. In 1900, there were approximately 100K people over the age of 80. Today, there are almost six million! And by 2050, it is estimated that there will be 20 million. That’s a 220% increase in under thirty years. Wow! With so many older people, and you likely being among them one day, you must start maximizing your health right now. Oh… in Japan, they now produce more diapers for adults than they do infants. Yikes! Thinking about diapers should be motivation enough.
The population is getting older, and it is also getting sicker. Over 50% of the adult population in the U.S. suffer with at least one chronic illness, and 80% suffer with two or more. These are not infections, which get treated with medicines and go away. They are usually lifestyle-induced diseases that create aches and pains, disable us, and prevent us from doing the things we enjoy in life. So, the good news is that we can live longer lives. But the bad news is that those extra years might be miserable. But more good news… most of the chronic illnesses are preventable.
I encourage you to start thinking about not just longevity, but healthy longevity. While I would take a short, awesome life over a long, disease-ridden life, I do things now to help give myself the best possible chance for an awesome, long life. There are A LOT of things out of our control, but there is whole lot that is in our control. Don’t wait until you’re old and debilitated to decide that you don’t want to be old and debilitated. Decide to be old, but be old and awesome! Start now!