A new report from Scientific American shows that humans have a life span capacity of up to 120-150 years, omitting any possible stressors like cancer, heart disease, or getting hit by a bus. The article, however, looks at this optimal life span rather pessimistically. The author writes, “What if death simply cannot be hacked and longevity will always have a ceiling, no matter what we do?…In the end, if the obvious hazards do not take our lives, this fundamental loss of resilience will do so.”
To me, however, 120-150 years seems extremely long! It means that I, in my mid 40s, possibly still could have another 75 to 105 years of life left. That’s incredible to think about.
The oldest person on record in our modern day to have ever lived was Jeanne Calment from France, who daily smoked a cigarette and drank a glass of red wine. She died in 1997 at the age of 122. Of course, she has nothing on Methuselah who is the oldest person reported in the Bible, living 969 years (Genesis 5:27).
With so many potential years before us, how are we to think of our lives? Some of us at 40 are already trying to plan for retirement at 65. If we stay on this earth twice as many years after that, however, gardening and golfing may not suffice to bring meaning to our lives. And without meaning and purpose, life can be rather dismal, boring, and unfulfilling.
According to a study from Lifeway Research, most Americans (57%) say they wonder, “How can I find more meaning and purpose in my life?” at least monthly. About 1 in 5 say they consider the question daily or weekly. It’s a question on all our minds, whether we perceive our lives to be short, after a year of a global pandemic, or long, after reading this report. What will we do with our days, months, and years then? How can we find the meaning and purpose many are searching for?
There should be something more to your life than just being afraid to die!