August 28, 2006

You like to think it's perfectly possible to live to be 120.

Don't you? But the oldest person in the world just died, and she was only 116. The new oldest person is also 116, and you've got to go all the way down to 114 to get to the oldest man. How many people do you think there still are who came from the 19th century? Not too many! But you're saying, surely, there will be many medical advances, so that by the time I get up there, reaching 120 will be quite common, probably even 130 or 140. Admit it! That's what you were thinking!

22 comments:

Meade said...

108 if you must know. Guess I lack gumption.

SippicanCottage said...

My liver is already 120 in tavern years.

Jim said...

Quality of life is a big issue here. In my experience, most folks over 85 or 90 wish they were dead or their children and grandchildren do. I always wonder why people would waste 5 hours a week exercising just to extend their lives a year or two. That's 5 waking hours of boredom and wasted time in your youth and vigor in return for another year or two of decrepitude, mostly spent asleep or in bed!

SuperMom said...

I'm not so certain I do want to live to be 120. Heck, my husband and I have only planned on living until our early 90s, economically speaking, and unless this law career turns out to be a heck of a lot more lucrative than previously thought who can afford to live that long!

Icepick said...

If I make it to my 80s in decent health and then die quickly (preferably in a gun battle in Bolivia) I will count that as a great success. Plus, I should have died when I was 20, so at 38 I'm 18+ years in the bonus.

LoafingOaf said...

Who's the oldest person with a blog? I'd like to read a blog of someone who was born in the 19th century.

howzerdo said...

I have had many relatives on both sides of my family live well into their 90s who were still sharp, active and independent and enjoyed a very high quality of life. (But most of them were much more fit than I am at my age.) I admit nothing...true, there are health advances, but I am not into death denial and I don't believe people will be living to 130 or 140 or even 120 when I am a senior citizen.

MadisonMan said...

There are people on my dad's side that live into their 90s, maintaining sharp-as-tackness. On Mom's side, Men die in their 40s. So I'm not sure where I'll end up.

My only wish is that my kids don't live in interesting times. And I hope that their lawyers don't grow rich. And I don't want to outlive them.

Revenant said...

But you're saying, surely, there will be many medical advances, so that by the time I get up there, reaching 120 will be quite common, probably even 130 or 140. Admit it!

I think there's a fair chance that death due to aging will be "cured" well before I reach 120.

Tibore said...

What's that Woody Allen quote?


Q: What do you people to say about you in a hundred years?

A: I want them to say "Damn, he looks good for his age".


Icepick:

Gun battle in Bolivia, huh? Well, I got a quote for ya:

http://imdb.com/title/tt0751092/quotes. The second quote :)

"You know, there are worse ways to go, but I can't think of a more undignified..." er, ahem...

;)

Icepick said...

Tibore, I can't go out that way. It runs counter to my motto: "Dignity. Always, dignity."

MrBuddwing said...

I take my cue from Benjamin Franklin: "All would live long, but none would be old."

Frank Borger said...

As the Gershwins said in Porgy & Bess

* the song "It Ain't Necessarily So":

Methus'lah lived nine hundred years
Methus'lah lived nine hundred years
But who calls dat livin' when no gal'll give in
To no man what's nine hundred years

XWL said...

Who's the oldest person with a blog? I'd like to read a blog of someone who was born in the 19th century.

I don't know about oldest blogger, but I'm pretty certain that this 79 year old from England is definitely the oldest person who's become an overnight sensation on YouTube.

He burned shortly but brightly on YouTube (he's already bid his farewell to the medium).

(though there is a post farewell video that suggests that his farewell isn't a final video submission)

(and geriatric1927 was written up in The Guardian, WaPo, and The Daily Mail, amongst other places, his Wiki page is a good place to start)

As far as living well into a 2nd century, not in this body. If minds become 'portable' (whether into another body, a rejuvenated version of this body, or a machine, doesn't matter) then I'm all for living for centuries rather than decades, otherwise between 30,000 to 40,000 sunsets are plenty.

JDM said...

Well, I know I will die someday, and somewhere 80-90 sounds good to me, provided I have rude health.

Of course, I dont actually believe I will die. I know I will, but I dont believe it.

Dave said...

Why do you suppose that the upper limit on human life is a round number in years? Why wouldn't it be the number of heartbeats? Or the number of cell replications?

amba said...

My dad blogs occasionally and he's 88.

Icepick: Plus, I should have died when I was 20

There's a story there, obviously. Tell!

amba said...

At 60 it would be nice to think I've only lived half my life!! But I don't think so. More like three-quarters of it.

downtownlad said...

Yeah - I don't think I'll live to 120. I'd be happy with 90 or so. But one thing I can promise you is that I won't act old. No way in the world I'm going to act like those people who like to stand on the down escalator.

I've seen fit and sharp 95 year olds. I'm going to be one of them. If not - please kill me.

Joan said...

Admit it!

Nope. We briefly hit the immortality topic last week in the new stem cell technique: I can't think of a more ghastly torture.

If I had excellent quality of life, I wouldn't want to die. The chances of having excellent, or even good, quality of life, without significant medical support, at that advance age, are really slim. There is such a thing as diminishing returns.

Were it not for broad-spectrum antibiotics, I wouldn't have survived infancy. I've got 25 years on Icepick in the plus column. That kind of history does have an affect on how you look at issues like this.

Icepick said...

The drop in infant mortality has so changed the landscape of human thought and activity in the developed world (and large swaths of the under-developed world) that it is hard to imagine what life must have been like for parents even a century ago. Callimachus wrote an interesting post about that topic several months ago.

Amba, the story wasn't really that interesting, it was just a (should-have-been-fatal) car wreck. I did write about it here, but it's buried in a mass of other stuff. (Actually, I now see that it's up near the front.)

JB said...

120, 120...I find it fascinating the power in the Bible, that 120 amazes us, and yet 5500 years ago, the idea that man's upper limit was 120 years, was written, and still today holds well.