Huffington Blog DARE TO BE 100
August 2, 2017
A BIG BET
In 1991 I wrote a book titled “WE LIVE TOO SHORT AND DIE TOO LONG”. The fifth chapter was entitled Aging is a Self Fulfilling Prophecy. That was 26 years ago when I was 61 years of age. Now at eighty-seven my prophecy is intact. I intend to live till 100. I still have unfinished work to do. Like Alexander the Great observed toward the end of his triumphant career “there are still worlds to conquer.”
I certainly find much satisfaction in what I have accomplished so far, but it’s not time yet to fold my tent. My fixation still is on erasing health illiteracy from the world. This gigantic task is the ultimate vaccine. Were we able to teach everyone how to fulfill their human potential of a hundred healthy years mankind would triumph. We die too soon. A major part of my personal strategy is to establish 100 years as our natural life expectancy. I have written extensively to this purpose.
I am of course interested in a bet that was placed by two of my gerontologist colleagues Steven Austad of the University of Alabama and Jay Olshansky of the University of Illinois. Stimulated by an article in the journal Nature in 2016, that used demographic data to assert that there is a natural limit to human lifespan of about 115 years, Olshansky agrees but Austad doesn’t. Citing current research on animals’ life extension by some drugs Austad sees no upper limit. Earlier in 2000 he wrote in the Scientific American, “ the first 150 year old person is already alive.”
To address their claims in September 2000 the two endowed their wager that any one born before 2001 will reach the age of 150. As the invested fund value keeps growing the winner will claim a handsome reward. Neither of the gamblers expect to be around in 2150. But I am confident that Olshansky’s descendents will heap a bonanza from Jay’s recognition of the finitude of human life.
Bet on it!