Sunday, March 29, 2015

Who Wants to Live Forever?

Smooth Operator ...

Let's get this out of the way right up front: You are going to die. Not a matter of "if," but "when," and maybe you don't like that notion, I don't care for it myself, but there it is.

How do I know it is true? Look around. See anybody here who was here a hundred and fifty years ago? Show me. Even if Methuselah lived to be 969–and I would want to see the birth and death certificates, thank you–he's not here any more, either.

The Taoist master back in China? Sure. Him and Bigfoot and the Yeti are roomies, right?

Now, what happens after you shuffle off this mortal coil is open for discussion: You might go to Heaven, you might be reincarnated, you might go out like a candle, but the flesh you wear is going to break down, and whosoever is paying rent is going to move out. 

Period, full-stop, end of the organic road. If you can't see this or don't believe it? Have your meds adjusted. 

Are there things you can do to add years to your natural genetic tendency? Probably, though the jury is still out on most of them. 

Choosing your parents wisely seems to be of some benefit.

Conversely, are there things you can do to shorten your stay here? 

You know there are. Smoke too much, drink too much, eat too much, sleep with the wrong people, engage in risky behavior, your number could be up quicker. The Reaper is coming to your party sooner or later, but ... why hold the door open for him?

So diet and exercise and pills made from goat gonads and meditation and prayer and intermittent fasting notwithstanding, eventually Death will feast upon you.

He's gonna get me, too, which I still don't like, but there it is.

All that is more or less beyond the scope of this discussion. What I would offer is that there are some things that will affect the quality of life you have, and those things are there if you want them. Can't change the destination, but you might be able to make the ride more fun.

Diet, exercise, mediation, prayer, intermittent fasting those are candidates. I dunno about the goat gonad capsules ...

"Quality of life" here goes to to how you feel and move and your capabilities to go through life and do the things you need and want to do. Might have medical maladies or physical problems you can't fix, but some of these can be improved. 

Which exercises? What foods, or spiritual practices? You have to figure those out for yourself. If something makes you feel better, more alive? Probably a good start. And yes, some of you will say that bacon-wrapped Triple Whopper with cheese and a side order of Monstro Fries and thirty-two ounce Coke make you feel better, and I suppose that is possible, but I don't believe it. You might love the taste, I surely do, but feeling like a beached whale after you eat something is not feeling better. It's the price you pay for overindulging, and you and I both know it. No wool is being pulled over eyes here. 

All that sugar, all that fat, all those calories? You can choose to go there and that's your choice, but there are consequences.

Of course, you could eat healthy, work out like a body Nazi, free your life of stress, Om yourself to bliss each day, and you could still fall over dead of a stroke or heart attack tomorrow. Shit happens. But some of it is the ride and not the destination, and getting up and feeling great is, in my opinion, better than getting up and feeling like crap. Don't think so? How about how you feel on a great spring day with all cylinders working smoothly as opposed to how you feel when you are abed with the flu? That's when you appreciate how "good" feels, isn't it? 

Being fit, on a good diet, they won't keep you alive forever. But they might make the time you have so much more enjoyable.


Shady_Grady said...

Simple truths. Love this.

Joe said...

I'm hoping medical science will find a cure for aging. Then it's all about how much risky behavior I want to have to fill my time.

Eventually the parachute will fail.

Cadeyrn said...

Understand both sides, but ultimately I come down on Joe's side. I could fast and abstain from, well, everything fun (I think drinking, sex, dangerous behavior, eating fun foods and profligate lifestyles were mentioned?) in order to eke out a few more years or I can hedge my bets by saving money on the thought that an engineered solution will emerge. Note I say "engineered" rather than "medical" since medical science is still caught in a mindset of treating symptoms and hoping the body can cure itself of the rest of the problem. Engineered solutions, whether pharma, bio, or nanotech hold the key to greatly extended longevity and vitality.

What people will do with that, well... I'm not the science fiction writer now am I? :)

Steve Perry said...

Science may find the panacea, then it will be all those behaviors we don't really consider risky that will have to be addressed: Driving, crossing the street, climbing on a stepladder. If you have a thousand years in the pot, you are apt to be careful making bets that cost so much.

Moderation, sea I. Eat the cheeseburger or wash down supper with a beer now and again, since they aren't apt to be the coffin's biggest nail.

A diet exclusively of cheeseburgers and beer? Maybe not such a good idea.

Quality versus quantity was the main point of the piece, and it's ultimately up to each one of us how we parse those choices. Better to have seventy healthy years, or ninety, mostly-disabled years? Me, I'd rather have ninety healthy years, but I don't necessarily have that choice ...

AnnieB said...

I feel the same way about both time and money. TIME: Sure, I can work 90-hour weeks and not take all the vacation time to which I'm entitled. But life's too short, and I'm not guaranteed to live long enough to retire, so I'm going to enjoy stuff NOW (in moderation, of course). As for MONEY: Sure, I'm saving for retirement, but not every penny not spent on necessary expenses. Books and chocolate are tops on my discretionary spending list. Carpe diem!

Zipp said...


"...don't believe it? Have your meds adjusted."

Steve... I must say I find your bedside manner impeccable!