If you have been following Sixty and Me for any period of time, you already know that I am not a big fan of the term anti-aging. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the pressure that women feel to look younger is one of the key psychological factors holding us back after 60.
There’s a big caveat here though. When I talk about “anti-aging,” I am usually thinking about the potions and pills that companies push our way in an attempt to make us part with our hard-earned money. The problem is not only that society puts pressure on us to look younger, but, also that most of the products out there simply don’t work!
This raises an interesting question. How would we feel about anti-aging products and services if they actually worked? Would we still reject them? Or, would we choose to live out the rest of our lives in 25-year-old bodies?
This is not going to be a theoretical question for too much longer. In the next couple of decades, advances in biotechnology, genetics and nanotechnology will almost certainly give us the ability to reverse many aspects of the aging process.
Here are a few important questions that we will have to struggle with, as individuals and as a society, as this happens:
If your doctor offered you the option of reversing the aging process would you take it? Despite the fact that I hate the term “anti-aging” as it is commonly applied, I have to admit that I would be tempted. It’s not that I want to change my appearance to be more attractive to others. At this age, I don’t really care too much what other people think! However, the idea of returning my flexibility, strength and energy to more youthful levels is appealing.
Why? Because there are so many things that I would like to do now that I have a lifetime of experience under my belt. I don’t think that I wasted my youth, but, there are so many things that I still want to do. I have mountains to climb, places to visit and goals to achieve. Wouldn’t all of this be easier in a 25-year-old’s body?
Ultimately, this is a personal decision and I am sure that many people our age will decide to age naturally. But, I also don’t think that it is a betrayal of the natural order to want to live as long and healthy a life as possible.
What about you? If you could keep your memories and experience, but, reverse the aging process in your body, how old would you like to feel? 25, 35, 45? Or, would you be happy to age naturally, accepting your occasional aches and pains as a part of life?
Another question that our generation will have to answer is how long we want to live. Especially for younger boomers, the idea of being able to live into beyond 100 is not a fantasy. In fact, since technology will continue to improve, we may find ourselves having the option of living to 150 or beyond.
I suspect that, for most people, it will be hard to answer this question without knowing what quality of life they will have. If we are able to reverse the aging process to the point that our bodies function as if they were in their 20s or 30s again, why wouldn’t we want to live longer?
Of course, there are practical questions here as well. Most of us are not prepared financially to live for another 40+ years. In addition, I can’t think of a single pension system in the world that is prepared to support us for this long. So, it seems unavoidable that, in order to live longer, we will need to find ways to make more money – either by returning to work or starting our own companies.
So, how long would you like to live if you were in excellent health? Would you be willing to go back to work if it meant extending your life by another 10, 20, or 30 years?
Finally, there is the question of how these changes will impact the larger world around us. Since the beginning of time, society has functioned around an orderly lifecycle. We are born. We grow and have children. We get old and, eventually, we die. There is a feeling, buried deep in our subconscious, that aging is “natural.”
How will society respond when older people start entering the workforce again in large numbers? Will we be accused of “stealing” jobs from the younger generations, many of whom are starting families for the first time?
Or, will the opposite happen? Will countries, unable to support their aging populations, abolish the concept of “retirement” and demand that we return to work?
The next few decades are going to bring unprecedented change to the world. Far from being sidelined, our generation is going to be at the very center of revolution in genetics, biotechnology and nanotechnology. How we choose to respond will change everything.
What age would you choose for your biological body, if you could keep your memories and experiences? How long would you like to live, if you could stay in excellent health? Would you return to work full-time if your body felt like it did in your 20s? What other implications do you think that the coming anti-aging revolution will have on society and how do you think that we will respond? Please add your thoughts in the comments below.
Tags Healthy Aging