In 1776, around the time of our country’s birth, the average life expectancy was around 36 years. Children who lived with both parents, or had a family structure, had an advantage, as they had means and resources to keep them alive. If they survived childhood diseases and made it into their teens, they were expected to take on a trade or occupation in order to provide or contribute to the household wealth. Early adulthood, especially men, had the expectation of being a soldier, or at the very least, one who had the real responsibility of defending his household from robbers and thieves. If a young adult successfully lived into their thirties, they might have the benefit of having children, and perhaps grandchildren. But their bodies were likely exhausted, having experienced lifelong hardships and toil of manual labor. They had to overcome disease and lack of medical and technological advancements. They left their marks in the world as best as one could in the colonial period, and established a legacy that allowed the next generation to become more prosperous and healthy than their own.
In 2000, the average life expectancy is about 78-plus years old, doubled the time of the American Revolution. This generation of Americans is not expected to be its own doctors, its own life counselors, its own law enforcement, not even expected to be its own gardeners! Between 2000-2050, people have the benefit of medicine, technology, and community resources to prolong their lives perhaps well into their 90’s, and many are expected to live into their 100th birthday in greater numbers than in the history of our world! Pretty amazing statistics…but are you ready to live to a 100?
Like the previous generations, the longer we live the more we become recipients of technology, medicine, community wealth, and advancement of civilization. But those are not the only things that keeps us living! As we age, we expect more from ourselves, and perhaps others. Let’s examine what happens to our civilization as we get older, in just about any era of human history…
We gain wisdom
With age comes experience and learning. Those who don’t learn from their mistakes and the errors of others are bound to repeat them. We expect our personal and collective wisdom to guide us to make better choices over time, thus prolonging the quantity and quality of life. Wisdom also entails knowing what is important, which values are worth pursuing and defending in order benefit our loved ones and our children.
We gain relationships
With age comes new relationships and the strengthening of old ones. The alliances we make in our lifetime allows us to live together longer, as long as we are pursuing peace and civility together. Relationships with our families and with others should expand our own resource base of knowledge and opportunities while reciprocally benefiting others.
We gain personal “wealth”
Personal wealth in this sense isn’t the kind of self-serving wealth that is reflected only in our bank accounts. Personal wealth is the combined inventory of financial, relational and quality-of-life values that allows the individual to thrive, making possible a life that allows for generosity, charity, and moderation that can benefit not only ourselves, but those we care for and causes we care about.
We get to benefit from civilization’s advancements
Medicine, technology, education and information distribution has advanced significantly in our human history. From smoke signals to homing pigeons, from the pony express to the internet, cultures that share resources and information with one another tend to survive and thrive together. Let us learn from one another as we get older, and celebrate our differences as well as our similarities together.
Living to our 100th birthday is a real possibility for many people. Are your resources and your lifestyle ready to take on the 100 year lifestyle? Let’s work together to achieve a better future for ourselves and the generation to come!
Dr. Adrian Pujayana has been providing drug-free solutions for health and wellness to adults, athletes and youth since 2000 through his private practice at Family Chiropractic Center of South Pasadena, a place for strength training and nutrition based health care.