Who Wants to Live to be 150?

I’m in my 50’s and I have two parents around the age of 90. And this has brought the reality of aging and death closer than I’ve ever known. Now I no longer understand… in fact I cannot even conceive of the desire to live forever.

Maybe nobody really wants to live forever but every part of our culture seems to be aimed at defeating deadly diseases and the infirmity of old age. I’m a Catholic and I know that life is sacred but so is death, even though I can’t be entirely sure we go to meet God when we’re done with life. I accept some things on faith but I’m still thinking about that one.

Another thing I think about is research that shows you can reverse cellular deterioration with certain proteins that reprogram cells back to an embryonic state. It doesn’t quite mean aging can be stopped. But maybe it means aging is malleable and living to 150 is a possibility we can take seriously. But who wants to live to be 150?

I think of the well-used saying “When you’re tired of London you’re tired of life.” I can imagine being tired of London or any other place, and I think we reach a point where being tired of life is perfectly natural.

Life is a process of seeing the same stuff over and over and it’s not always that great. People complain about the same old things and they keep performing the same acts of stupidity and selfishness. When you’re young everything is new and exciting, even the bad stuff. Get a little older, you tolerate it and roll your eyes. When you get old you’re sick of it and it makes you grumpy. You look at the hopefulness of youth and you think what they hope for will never happen and when will they stop kidding themselves?

It gets harder to see life as a gift when the thing looses its luster.

Like I said… this a natural tendency, and how long do you want to live like that. I ask myself how far do we need to go in avoiding the inevitable grasp of death.

People march for the causes of defeating cancer or heart disease. But if you don’t die of cancer or heart disease then what are you supposed to die of? I have never experienced the death of a person who is very close to me. Uncles, grandparents, long-lost friends… their deaths were distant and not something I would expect to to be powerfully moved by.

When my parents die I wonder if I will I feel pain and sadness, emptiness or simply relief. I wonder this when I see my father struggle into the passenger side of a car and pull his right foot slowly, slowly into the footwell. It takes him an eternity to just get in.

It sounds weird, even shameful to suggest we should welcome or be relieved by death in any way. But I we do. And I’m pretty sure when my time comes, I will.

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