100 Years Is Enough for Me, Pal

Ah, the New Year is upon us, a time to make predictions about the future. Here's one that has me worried: human beings may eventually live a really long time.

According to the World Future Society, we are in the early phases of a superlongevity revolution. Thanks to advances in nanotechnology and cell and gene manipulation, scientists may eventually learn how to keep humans alive from 120 to 500 years.

Which prompts an important question: Do we really want to live that long?

Sure a longer life would have its upside. I'd love to have my parents around forever. I'd love to swing by for Sunday dinner for at least 100 years more.

It would be great if we were able to keep fellows like Jimmy Stewart, Johnny Carson and Dean Martin around. It would be even better if we were able to keep around great minds, such as Einstein, who could unlock the mysteries of the universe.

But a longer life would have its downside. Do we really want baby boomers, who are now beginning to retire, to vote government benefits for themselves for several hundred years? And what of our younger generations, kids who are notorious slackers? Mother to son in year 2075: You're 100 years old! Isn't it time you move out and get a job!

 I'm 45 and already showing signs of fatigue. In my experience, life is largely made up of colds, bills, speeding tickets and people who let you down. These experiences are connected by a series of mundane tasks. The drudgeries are occasionally interrupted by a wonderful meal, a really good laugh or a romantic evening with a lovely woman.

Then the mundane stuff starts all over again.

If we live 100 years or more, how are we going to pay for it? Living is expensive. Are we going to work 50 years, retire, burn through our nest egg, then sling hamburgers for a century or two?

On one hand, I think it's great we humans are getting better at improving our health and life spans. But on the other hand I know this: DYING is what makes life most worth living.

Would you enjoy a movie if you knew it was going to play for 24 hours? No, what makes the movie enjoyable is its ending. And it better end within two hours or we all start squirming in our seats.

The key to human happiness, you see, is not an abundance of a thing, but the lack of it. Doesn't pie taste better when we know it's the last slice? Doesn't a football game capture our attention more when it is the last of the season — the one that determines who goes out the winner and who goes out the loser? Isn't a comedian funnier when he exits the stage BEFORE we want him to go?

Hey, futurists, I'm not sure we want to stick around too long. If you are a God-fearing Catholic, as I am, you know this is just a testing ground anyhow. This is just practice. It's like two-a-day football drills. We must first prove ourselves during the agony of summer practice to earn our rights to play in the big game. Do we really want to spend 500 hundred years running wind-sprints in summer practice?

When I look up to the stars, I can't help but sense there are better places to go. But it's not until we check out of Hotel Earth that we're able to enjoy a place with more amenities and better service. I know that place is Heaven, which I figure I'll get to sooner or later — after doing a tour of that other place.

Though maybe Purgatory won't be so bad as I fear. Many of my friends will be there.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Guest

    Ahh Purgtory!

    the more I think of it, the more it sounds like the 'grey havens' to me.

    A place to rest and learn to love God and be healed of wounds left from sin, with out the distractions of daily life.

     To a little housewife like me, it sounds like heaven!



  • Guest

    Tom, the best thing about your article is that it ended 😉 I liked it.

    I had a neighbor who always said that the first 100 yrs. is the worst. He died three months short. People start to give back in their senior years Extending that generous time is a good thing for society.

  • Guest

    Life is 3 score plus 10 or maybe a little longer if you are strong. That fact looming before my 60 year old eyes tells me it is time to get a move on. There are souls to be saved. There are praises to be sung. Time is short. There was time to waste when I was 30. And I did waste it. God has work for each of us and that the deadline for our assignments is close should make us work all the harder. The end of the term approaches….







  • Guest

    Ah, but for the most of us, it is the daily life that gets us to Heaven!

    The mundane becomes the sacred and holy.

    Do not lose the value of your mundane, repetitive life since it is our fodder for Eternal Life!

  • Guest


  • Guest

    rosary4peace  Remember The Little Flower's "Little Way"  The so called "mundane" can become occasions of powerful prayer!

  • Guest

    Have you ever eaten a really good steak and said, "That was so good, I could eat steak every day of my life and never get tired of it!"  Have you ever tried eating steak every day?  For those of you have-to-learn-from-experience types like me, how many days did it take before you never wanted to see a piece of steak again?

    There are so many wonderful things to enjoy in this life; there's even more to enjoy in the next!  I suspect it's harder to watch someone "leave" than it is to leave ourselves because we anticipate the unimaginable joys to come.  And, the One Who "makes all things new" will never disappoint.

    There seriously comes a point in each life (and, I've already reached mine) where one sees the mercy of God in the ending of this life.  Live for 150-500 years?  No, thanks: I've got "places to go, things to do, and people to see"…..especially One.  I'm doing my best to "endure my exile bravely", but when my name is called, you can believe that I'll JUMP into His arms.

  • Guest

    My heart is restless until it rests in thee, O Lord.


  • Guest

    God loves you .

    It’s only worth living long enough to be ready to fall into God’s arms as my Sole Beloved.

    Then, if HE wants to give me one more year, ten more, a hundred more years, I’ll be in heaven already, anyway, just to be doing what He wants me to do.

    I’m ALMOST there, now.

    Remember, I love you, too .

    Toward our holy and prosperous New Year in Christ,

    Pristinus Sapienter

    (wljewell @catholicexchange.com or … yahoo.com)