Not Just Living Longer, But Living Better
"80% of all deaths are lifestyle related"
We were not meant to live as long as we do today. Or, more accurately, we were not needed to live as long as we do today. We were only needed to live long enough to pass along our DNA to our progeny and make sure that our progeny lived long enough to repeat the cycle. Living any longer was not only unnecessary, but in a world of very limited resources, it was actually a liability.
For our Hunter Gatherer ancestors, living beyond our usefulness was more of an act of god than of personal choice. But as we evolved, so did our methods of livelihood, and soon we were able to create and store sources of sustenance and even wealth. This provided the opportunity for many to actually contemplate a life of retirement.
Since the late 1800’s, human longevity has been extended one year for every four that we have lived since (from around 40 to over 80 in many advanced countries). But there are two very important things to consider - first, most of those years that we gained were between birth and the first year of life (40 for a newborn, but only 7 for a 70 year old). Second, for most advanced countries, those gains have come to an end (the only gains really coming at the very edge of the aging spectrum).
While most humans now survive into adulthood, many are running into a series of obstacles in middle age (the longevity gauntlet), leaving a select few to live an extended lifespan that can surpass the century mark. As we have found ways to live longer, we have also adopted a lifestyle that prevents us from getting to those years.
The advances in science, technology, and medicine that have extended our lives over the past couple centuries are the very things that are taking away those same years. We were not designed to thrive in a life of comfort, leisure, and convenience. We evolved to face adversity, solve problems, and take on damage, not just to survive but to get stronger and become better as a result.
For many of us, we have gone from a life that was simple and hard, to one that is complicated and easy. While we spent millions of years evolving during times that were simple and hard, we have only experienced complicated and easy for that last 50 to 100. The vessels that we occupy are designed to thrive in simple and hard, which is why most of us struggle when things are complicated and easy.
So here we are. We live in a world that has eliminated so many of the things that took our ancient ancestors to an early grave, while at the same time creating new, more diabolical ways of reaching the same destination.
But what if we could get the best of both worlds? What if we could take advantage of the life-extending advances of a modern society while maintaining, or mimicking, the daily rituals that made our ancient ancestors stronger, faster, and healthier?
That’s the goal, in a nutshell.
Digging Deeper, a Lot Deeper:
Healthspan vs. Lifespan (Coming soon).