Life becomes less precious

The longer we live, the less precious life might feel.

If we all live to be 100+, what’s the pressure to start a family, travel, indulge our hobbies? We might feel we have all the time in the world and postpone the things that really matter.

I don’t think it makes life less precious. It just means you have more time to do all those things. Is that really such a bad thing?

For some that struggle to get ahead in their career/ workplace, pay their bills, feed their families and don’t have easy access to resources or education, the thought of a longer life might represent more hardship.

I wonder if there is any data out there that shows how emotional well-being (or some other sort of proxy for “sense of life’s preciousness”) correlates with life expectancy.

That reminds me of a TED talk Robert Waldinger gave. They did a 75-year study at Harvard, which found that the only thing that consistently correlates with people’s self-reported sense of happiness is their connections with other people.

So… one remedy to keep people happy would be to provide them all with smartphones and Whatsapp?

God, no! Real connections!

If we could all live to 100+, hopefully that also means our years of adolescence increase, and also fertility gets extended as well.

@NickOttens - it’s just a different medium for communication, and has several advantages over the physical medium we currently use. Don’t be so present-centric :slight_smile:

Isn’t use of all these devices and social media actually making us feel less connected?

@JessicaYoon Why do you say hopefully adolescence and fertility also get extended?

@SamBlake I guess I was just thinking of some examples, such as it would be nice to “be a kid” a bit longer before having to have the responsibilities of adulthood (although I wonder already what kind of implications that may have on the compulsory education system), or a longer window of time to decide whether you want to have children and if/when you are ready, the capability to have them despite your numerical age (50-60+)? Obviously, this part is more pertinent to women reproductive health.

Maybe if we had more time on this earth in better health to achieve these kinds of life milestones (ex: get an education, find a partner and start a family, get ahead in your career), we wouldn’t be so stressed to try accomplishing them all in the 80-year lifespan we are currently given. Expanded life could mean more freedom in making important life choices, and more time to discover what makes you truly happy and fulfilled!

@JessicaYoon ,
Interesting thoughts! I’m certain that if we find the means to significantly slow down aging or even reverse it, then maintaining fertility would be one of the requirements the public will set for the treatment. I do wonder if that’s even a good thing, considering that we don’t want to reach a state of overpopulation.

So, the biological window in which you can have babies is extended , just don’t?

@LisaCovington -
Well, what we see anyway is that in developing regions, where people can suddenly bring to the world plenty of babies without fearing for their lives, the rate of childbirth sharply declines. One of the main reasons for bringing so many children to the world used to be that people were afraid their kids would die and leave them childless - and therefore, with no one to take care of them when they grow old. Now things are different: nearly everyone will survive to adulthood, but parents need to invest their resources in education. So - they bring less children to the world, but support those better than ever before.

@ohjanet and @Stefanie, since your organization, Encore.org, leverages the skills and talents of people over the age of 50, I wonder what’s your take on this discussion?

More time means more time to connect to the next generation and to do something to leave the world a better place for them!

@Stefanie That’s a great thought. Perhaps mindful generational connection can result a greater sense of purpose as we live longer and traditional work models fall by the way side.

@LisaCovington If you’re interested, the founder of Encore.org, Marc Freedman, has a great new book out called “How to Live Forever” (encore.org/howtoliveforever). It’s all about the power of intergenerational relationships. I love one big idea from the book - “Instead of trying to be young, focus on being there for those who actually are.” With all those extra years of life, it would be incredible if we could harness it for social good.

@ohjanet Will pick it up this weekend! Thanks