My hundred year birthday is set for 2071**…Bring it on! | wikipedia

I read an article in a UK based newspaper yesterday that flummoxed me completely, because I didn’t know whether to believe it or not, or quite frankly whether I wanted to actually believe it. If you’re confused, all might become a little clearer if I were to say to you I have read a report that a baby born on this day might live until it is at least 104 years of age.

Tell me, does that fact fill you with either hope or dread? It seems that a certain Professor Sarah Harper, who is head of Oxford University’s Institute of Ageing, maintains that this supposed ‘fact’ will change society completely over the next twenty years or so. Indeed, what with the late physicist, Professor Stephen Hawking, warning mankind that our future may lie beyond planet earth, it could well be that in the future we humans could be consigned to the planet Mars with an average age of 97 years 3 months with no recollection at all of why or how we arrived there. Let me take each of these claims individually, whilst trying ever-so-hard not to bite my fist whilst crying like a baby.

Apparently, there are 14,500 centenarians currently living in the United Kingdom at the moment, however Prof Harper predicts that by the end of this century there will be more than a million of us Brits joining the ‘ton-up’ club, all jostling for position on this diminishing planet of ours. It is hoped that a mixture of technology and certain medical breakthroughs will bring with them a different perspective on the ageing process, but it is also feared that institutions such as marriage could be under extreme pressure as life goes on-and-on and-on; with decades upon decades stuck with the same dreary person - can you imagine it? Furthermore, as our physical health improves with new improvements in curing traditional killers such as cancer and heart disease the old biblical tenet of “three score years and ten” as a typical lifespan will become mostly redundant, as our children - grandchildren and great-grandchildren move beyond what is humanly possible at the moment.

I understand that the biggest dilemma for future generation might well be whether our brains and senses can function beyond what is generally seen to be a ‘life well led’ during this early part of the 21st century. Partly this is because that comfortably modern cliche, might be very different from the one that most of us presently live-out. Moreover, with most politicians only interested in what will win them the next general election; it will take huge courage on their behalf to recognise what academics are already forecasting i.e. the challenges of the next twenty years and beyond will be crucial to the survival of human society as we know it. For forward thinking people who study these scenarios - it is has become known as “…the elephant in the room.” And no amount of glib political promising and posturing will alter the fact that predicted extreme longevity will change almost every human certainty we have enjoyed for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Anyway, my hundred year birthday is set for 2071**…Bring it on!
** This date is an approximation.