Living life to a full age is one of those things we celebrate. Many consider it to be a component and testament of having lived a good and fulfilled life. This is in fact a vital prayer point for most people. We all want to live so long we at least see our grandkids.

Living till old age has several advantages. These include getting the opportunity to see more of one’s dreams fulfilled. It also presents an higher chance to explore the beauty of this world. Most importantly, it provides the opportunity to still see and interact more with the people we claim to love.

Nevertheless, living till a very old age posits several challenges both for the individual and even his environment.

Mere spectators

As humans increase in age, there seems to be a sort of disconnection between each generation. This is not unrelated to technological advancements, civilization, fashion and every other thing that keep the human race in vogue. Each generation boasts it has new, better and sophisticated things the older generation never had, the older generation claims the world was better off in the absence of these things. This generational conflict is nonetheless always biased towards the new generation, as they are the major driver of labor and civilization.

In Natalie Babbitt’s ‘Tuck Everlasting’, a children novel, the Tuck family achieved immortality by drinking the waters of a magic spring. As the years passed by, they were emotionally burdened by an unbridgeable remoteness from a world they are in but not of. A good number of our old folks are mere spectators in our world.

 I am of the opinion that when humans grow to certain ages, they feel alienated from the current state of the world. They like babies become total strangers to the happenings around. They have to be re-oriented over and over about the new developments in their environments. And for those who care less; they recline into the shadows, amazed and perplexed how they had become total strangers in a world they once called theirs. I strongly believe we do not have to live so long that we lose touch with reality.

Death, a saving grace

I find it quite weird that the older we get, the more family members we likely have, yet the lonelier we potentially become. As a man gets older, he has more records of dear, loved ones lost to the hands of death. And even though the world might increase in population, the people who really mattered are no longer around. This leaves a load of undeletable, nostalgic memories. A good reason I’ll never want to be a survival of a zombie apocalypse. A strange, new world with nothing but haunting memories of friends and loved ones, I wouldn’t cope!

In the fantasy movie- ‘The Old Guard’, Andromache, of Scythia possesses the supernatural ability of immortality. The memory of her immortal friend- Quynh who was drowned alive however continued to haunt her. As Scythia continues to live with her regret, Quynh lived on in pain and confinement. Death, would sufficiently ease both of their burdens.

The above scenario, though imaginarily portrayed, relays a true and real fact. The longevity of life only multiplies the burden of past which is a wistful and frank truth.

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain is a famous quote by Harvey Dent in the movie, “The Dark Knight Rises”. A philosophical summary that no matter what good intended, as long as you continue to live, you might bring as much evil as good. Death therefore is a saving grace. If they were still alive with their philosophies, a good number of our highly revered philosophers would hardly be taken serious.

The world belongs to the young

I believe that the knowledge peculiar to navigate and thrive in each particular time of life is best passed by the major players at that time. The young people, without doubt are more suited for the sophistication of their age. This is not to rule out the importance of experiences possessed by the old. Nevertheless, an experienced swordsman will need be taught the use of revolvers for a 21st century war. Skills and philosophies become obsolete with time. 

Also, imagine a population with an abysmally increased rate of aging, you would definitely expect a widespread economic slowdown. This would not be unconnected to a depleted labor force as their will be a greater rate of the dependent non-working class in the population.

Age-related illnesses

Another downside to living long is that nature has programmed everyone to be more susceptible to increased rate of life-threatening illnesses as one grows.
Age-related illnesses, such as cancers, diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, cataracts and so on make old age unbearable for most persons

As one grows up, several life-changing modifications therefore has to be made to survive in a not so genetically-friendly world. Enjoying the many good things of life to get to a point where you can no longer enjoy meat due to several dental problems or in some cases having to deal with fecal or urinary illnesses

Overall, old age may seem inevitable; it is also good that we live old enough to fulfill purpose. However, long life might not be that pleasurable as supposed. And death might not necessarily be that much of an enemy as we had thought.

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