Two stories that caught my attention this week were the news that children born into affluent homes today can expect to live considerably longer and the details of Michael Jackson’s autopsy.
Times Online reported:
More than half of babies born today in affluent homes are expected to live to the age of 100, based on current life expectancy trends.
Analysis of life expectancy and the quality of life in older age indicates that ageing processes can continue to be extended.
Using demographic modelling, scientists calculated that the average British child born in 2007 could expect to live to 103, while in Japan they would live to 107.
While the BBC Online reported of Michael Jackson:
His weight was in the acceptable range for a man of his height, according to the Associated Press.
But the singer, who died of a heart attack in June, had punctured arms, tattooed lips and eyebrows and suffered from lung damage and some arthritis.
Because of the influence of people like Michael Jackson, of those ubiquitous women’s magazine’s (and men’s magazines these days), and of celebrities queuing up to explain how the latest product means they haven’t any wrinkles except the one their sitting on we have fallen for the lie that we will never get old.
“Forever in blue jeans”, we are in denial and turning to Botox and surgery for appearance and drugs for comfort and to kill the pain. But it turns out that we may be older for longer. In which case we should remember that pop music was always meant to be a joke, teenagers were an unfortunate consequence of war, and maturity is meant to produce the elders of our community and not aged rockers.
We need to be reminded that it is not unusual for a fifty-year-old to need treatment for arthritis; that that irritating phase of our lives, youth, can be cured by age; that you don’t have to stay callow and irritating forever, and age should be embraced gracefully and with some style. Otherwise who will pass on wisdom to the next generation?