The Real Reason I'm Excited About Longevity Science
Tribute to Doug's Grandparents, all Grandparents, and a Peak into the Future
A few days ago, Doug, his parents, and I, visited Doug’s maternal grandparents at their old age home living facility in Michigan.
“My dear, these pictures are so wonderful! I’m so glad you’ve been able to spend time hiking and visiting national parks. Isn’t it great that you can work and camp at the same time? How times have changed! I wish I could do the same when I was your age,” remarked Grandma as she looked through the pictures of our nomadic adventures from this past year.
After some more chit chat and snacking on celery, we headed down to dinner. As we walked into the restaurant at the old age home facility, we were greeted by a crowd of old people gathered around tables. Some preferred to eat their meals quietly by themselves, while others preferred to sit in small and large groups. But one thing was common across all of them - they had the glow of wisdom and happiness on their faces. I wished I could soak in all the wisdom they had to impart.
At the end of dinner, a few of the residents came by to say hello to Doug’s grandparents. And perhaps also because they were curious to know who the visitors were.
“Fran, meet Doug and Molly. They are visiting me this weekend and headed to Italy tomorrow!” said Grandma.
“Headed to Italy? Oh, how wonderful! You must go to Florence,” said Fran. And then she turned to Grandpa and asked him, “Have you been to Italy? You must go to Italy, it’s such a beautiful place!”
Grandpa laughed. “Fran, it’s too late for me to go to Italy now. Perhaps my soul will pass through Italy once I die,” he joked.
Fran responded, “Alright, alright. Anyway, I must tell you - this past weekend I was at my granddaughter’s wedding and it was the most beautiful wedding I’ve attended. The flowers that adorned the tables were bright and intricate. And my granddaughter - oh she looked ever so gorgeous. She came up to me and said, “Nanny, don’t die, don’t leave me please. I’m so glad I was able to attend her wedding. I must show you some pictures later - do they stay on Facebook or will they disappear after posting? They stay? Oh great! Then I’m going to go look at them again. Nice to meet you, Doug and Molly and have a wonderful time in Italy.” And with that, Fran trotted off to look at her granddaughter’s wedding pictures.
We headed back to the apartment after dinner and Grandma looked at me and said, “You know Molly, Doug used to be my investment broker 10 years ago? It was a great way for him to earn side money. I knew he’d go into Investing. He’s been doing it since he was a kid.”
I laughed. “Why am I not surprised? I said. “He will often excitedly explain option strategies to me that pass over my head. But he seems to get them so intuitively,” I added.
“Oh yes, that’s Doug! Doug dear, do you mind looking through my stock portfolio and advising me on a few things?” Granny asked.
“Of course,” responded Doug. As Doug sifted through Grandma’s stock papers, he said, “Grandma, next time, can you please call me up when you have stock recommendations? You should be the one advising me! Your fund performance is better than that of most professional investment funds!”
After a bit, Grandma took us to see the library across from her hall. We started discussing books and she told me how she had been reading a lot of non-fiction and history books recently. “You know dear, I don’t have many days left and I want to learn as much as I can in the time remaining.”
On the drive back home, I couldn’t help but run through the conversations in my head. I thought of how advancements in aging science will change the nature of the conversations. I thought of why I’m truly excited about longevity science. And I thought of how the world would look like with progress in aging science.
Just for a few seconds, imagine with me. Imagine the following world:
Grandpa and Grandma are able to hike and camp with you. They will no longer be saying, “I wish I could do the same when I was your age.” They will be doing the same at their age. Grandpa will be able to visit Italy even in his 90s and later. He won’t have to wait for his soul to pass through Italy. The Fran’s of the world will not only be able to visit their granddaughter’s weddings, but also their great and great great granddaughters’ weddings.
You and I will have years and years to soak in all the wisdom from our grandparents. Oh, the amount we’d learn! Grandparents will be so sharp even beyond 100 years of age that we will be the ones asking them for stock recommendations! Grandma will have time to read all the non-fiction, fiction, and history books she wants to. And beyond any of this, generations of family members will be able to bond, form deeper connections, and live healthily for years to come.
Wouldn’t you want to live in a world like this? If you think life is beautiful and you can remain healthy in your “older” years, I assume that you would want to live long enough to meet generations of your family to come. And I think this is possible. And this is exactly why I’m excited about advancements in aging science.
Yes, it’s incredible to see the progress that science is making everyday. Yes, it’s incredible to see the progress made by technology and biotechnology. Yes, it’s incredible to see the progress made by brilliant aging scientists. But you know why all of this is incredible?
Because at the core of it, longevity science will enable deeper and longer human connections.
Kudos to Doug’s Grandma for being so agile & sharp at her age!
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