“A long life may not be good enough, but a good life may be long enough.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
If you read news about the boomer generation, you’ll rarely be at a loss for factoids about what the chronologically gifted can look forward to, post the half-centennial mark. In a feed I received from purpleclover.com, I learned the following useful (or depending on your perspective, useless) information.
1) Your sweat won’t smell the same. Everyone has a unique scent but the underlying chemicals that determine one’s body odor change with age. This can be linked to your sweat glands, hormones, and in some cases, medicines you might be taking. Yet you need not worry about “old people’s smell.” Recent research found that people’s negative association about older people’s body odor is more about one’s personal fear of aging. Middle-aged women (45-55) were determined to have the most pleasing scent. Middle-aged men (sorry guys) scored the lowest ranking. Lesson: don’t go overboard on onions and garlic (food odors travel through the bloodstream and enter sweat glands).
2) Your brain won’t work as quickly. It’s true, brain function in middle age isn’t the same as it was in our younger years. We can become more forgetful, and we don’t recall facts, words, and details as quickly as we once did. But recent research shows the news isn’t all bad. Scientists have found that the middle-aged brain can revive itself for the better. For example, scientists believe the brains of older adults are drawing from decades of experience to improve mental functions. What can you do? Find some mentally stimulating activities to keep your mind sharp. Consider taking a class, teach yourself to write with the opposite hand, and/or ditch multi-tasking.
3) You’ll need to shorten your pants length. Shrinking is a real thing for middle-agers, especially women. Beginning around age 40, the spinal column gets shorter due to its loss of bone density (between 5-20%) and the thinning of disks between each vertebra. Women over the age of 50 are now at the greatest risk for developing osteoporosis. Consider lifting weights, ramp up your weekly walking or do some type of daily activity that puts stress on your bones. In addition, eat more calcium-rich foods (yogurt, broccoli, salmon and almonds) and take a vitamin D supplement to help the body absorb the calcium. This pertains to men, too.
Yet, for all the downside (I only listed three), in the next 50 years, life extension experts predict that humanity will evolve into powerful bodies made from indestructible non-biological materials that automatically make repairs when damaged. Author Ray Kurzwell in The Singularity is Near, details how our bodies will change in the coming decades. Today’s frail human body, “version 1.0” has a high failure rate (50+ million died last year, most from age-related damages). Biotech and nanotech advances expected in the 2010s and 2020s promise a more durable “version 2.0” body immune to most sicknesses, including aging. (My note: aging is a sickness?)
Which yields “version 3.0” expected by the late 2030s – a remarkable mostly non-biological body boasting a zero failure rate. Even if a destructive accident were to occur with this futuristic body, experts say, advanced molecular nanotech and quantum computing systems could construct a new body with the patient’s original consciousness and memories intact, allowing life to continue.
I don’t know about you but a little body odor, some diminished mental acuity and, a bit of height loss is beginning to sound okay to me. What about you?