Why I Will Never Say

People talk about time, and taking advantage of what you have, and enjoying the moment, and planning for the future, and hurrying up, and slowing down, and you’re gonna be late, and its too early to be up, go back to bed, and is it Christmas yet?

I agree with all of it.

I believe that we should all take advantage of moments of beauty and happiness. I believe we should try to be on-time to our appointments, to not make other people wait, but I also recognize that things happen, and waiting half an hour doesn’t much upset me, as long as I have something to think about, look at, or listen to. I like waking up early, watching the sun rise. I like staying up late, looking at the stars and typing away, knowing that most of the people around me are in a deep slumber. I hate being sick, and wish it would end more quickly. I both love and loathe the strange non-ability of humans to remember physical touch — we can’t recall pain, which is good, but we also can’t recall softness, freshness, roughness, smoothness, the touch of skin, the feel of water, the coolness of beach sand.

I try to live every day as if it were my last. I don’t do this, but I try. I try to look at pain and annoyances as silliness. When it took me over two hours today to get from MP3.com to meet my grandma, and it usually takes me only 90 minutes to go 35 miles past her house to my home, I was upset, and I drove recklessly, and then I was calm, and listening to Les Miserables, and singing along, and looking at the pretty hillsides, and smiling.

I will never say “if I live to be 100.” Because I don’t want to have that obligation. And I don’t want to limit myself. I was just watching Scientific American Frontiers, a great series that I rarely get to see, and a guy was talking about artificial organs. 2000 years ago the average life expectancy was 30 years. One hundred years ago, the average life expectancy was 47. Today, the average lifespan is 75 years, and there are plenty of people at 75 who are still of sound mind, with only a messed up muscle or bone, a hip, say, or a leg, or a heart, which is really just a complicated pumping mechanism.

I expect medical science to extend life remarkably. It is already happening, and it will continue to happen. We can regrow retinas. We can make artificial hearts. Once stem cells are re-legalized (and they will be), we will be able to regrow body parts that are genetically compatible, if not identical. You lost your hand in a light saber duel? No problem, we can make you a new one, and the cells, with their millions of years of evolution, will figure out how to connect together and talk to each other and flex and bend and join up with your wrist and start working again.

The body is amazing. The advances in biotechnology are astounding. And I have no idea how long I will live. Can I die tomorrow? I can. Can I live to 150, 200, 300? Anything is possible, and I don’t plan on setting any cut-off dates for myself.

If I live to be 100, then that will be that, and perhaps I’ll just keep on living some more.

3 replies on “Why I Will Never Say”

  1. Take a look at statistics that look at the median instead of the mean of death at the same intervals and you’ll be suprised at the difference.

    Get rid of infant mortality statistics, and you’ll see 200 years ago, 100 years ago, and today’s life expectancy to be pretty damn close. So
    I wouldn’t use those statistics to prove your point. Plus those bastard christians are going to hold off stem cell research as long as possible, so don’t count on that sort of medical treatment being affordable during your lifetime.

  2. You may be right about 100 years ago, but 2000 years ago I would assume a lot of it had to do with lack of medical care (and lack of hygiene), not just infant mortality. Both continue to improve, although that is a good point. Luckily I’m counting more on nanotech, so I don’t have to worry about petty organs and such.

  3. Personally I’m counting on magic and sheer will… plus I will live on through my dog?

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