You Could Live To 150. Here’s How To Make Every Second Count

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3 min read

Career path longevity: no early retirement for you

Jeanne Calment rode a bicycle until she was 100, ate two pounds of chocolate a week and eventually quit smoking at the age of 112. She died in 1997 as the oldest person whose age has been verified at an incredible 122 years old. What a woman! She was a trailblazer in an elite group of supercentarians, but very soon her case could be far from unique, because life expectancy is increasing. Rapidly.

Whereas for centuries life spans languished in developed countries between 30 and 40 years, since 1800 they have doubled.

Across the globe exponential increases in biological, genetic, neurological and nano technologies have led scientists and entrepreneurs to start getting excited about the potential of radical life extension.

In Palo Alto, billions of dollars are being invested into secretive research companies like Google’s Calico, who are all working on how to cheat death. Successes in extending the life spans of mice have led to fledgling trials on humans, and as a result scientists are now predicting that the first person to live youthfully to 150 is already alive.

Career path no early retirement for you
Career path: no early retirement for you
The Multi Stage Life & your career path

But if our lifespans do end up dramatically longer than we plan for, what does this mean for the rest of our lives? And how do we make sure the gift of long life remains a gift? Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott have written a ground breaking book on the subject to help us get prepared. They predict we will live multistage lives with numerous changes of direction and attention. This may involve different careers, interspersed with phases of learning and self-reflection. Recreation as they put it will become “recreation”.

Breathing space

What’s most exciting about this prospect is it takes the pressure off getting things right the first time and creates some breathing space for experimenting, learning and making mistakes, which could be the key to exceptional success. With 51 becoming the new 21, we’ll have time to work stuff out.

It’s also encouraging that health span is increasing at about the same rate as life span, meaning that we’ll be able to use this extra time to enjoy life, without dealing with the illnesses and complications traditionally associated with old age.

Capital is key

The catch? All of this extra time comes at a financial cost, which Gratton and Scott lay out plainly in their book. Periods of study, reflection and longer retirements will be expensive, which means we’re also likely to work much longer. To make sure we’re able to enjoy our longer lives it’s crucial that we start saving early and intelligently. This means investing in stocks and shares rather than relying on savings accounts with low levels of return, a pit fall that women disproportionately fall in to.

The future’s for lovers

Gratton and Scott also discuss the secondary benefits of being loved up. They outline how even the better-off will be put under pressure by the demands of a multistage life, and the financial benefits of living as a couple, where costs are reduced and partners can provide financial cover for each other when not earning, will be more important than ever. How, ahem, romantic.

The French paradox

The radical research into longevity that is going on in the US sounds like pure science fiction. Drugs are in development to slow or reverse the aging process, 3D printing is being trialed to create replacement organs, and nanobots are being developed to seek out and destroy cancer cells in the blood. While we’re waiting for all of this astounding technology to come to market, you might want to conduct your own more basic research, with a small and regular dose of red wine. One of the drugs currently being trialed in California is made of compounds inspired by resveratrol, something that is found in the drink. This is believed to be behind what scientists call the “French paradox”, where the French enjoy a low rate of heart disease despite comparatively rich diets. Bottoms up, alors!

Hannah x

What would you do with a longer life span? Share your thoughts and insights in the comments below and continue the conversation with me over at The Iris Lillian Squad!

Career path longevity: no early retirement for you

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