67 ways to outlive 106 billion people

Unless there is some remarkable advance in medical technology between now and the year 2092, I will not live to see 2093. The oldest known human, Jeanne Calment, died at the age of 122 in 1997. So unless I outlive the longest-lived human, I am doomed. Keep in mind, for me to outlive her would mean that my lifespan would exceed that of the preceding 106+ billion people who have lived on the planet. I don’t like those odds. However, I plan to do my best to beat them.

That’s why, like Khrushchev, I will bury you. I won’t be happy, of course, I’ll feel terrible. But it wasn’t anything I did. In fact, it was a lot of things I didn’t do that made the difference between us. Some of them I had already started to do in 2007. Some of them were things I picked up doing later in my life. Sure, I should have done them sooner, but at least I started doing them eventually. Some of these were things I never did in the first place, which helped me even more. I actually hoped that you would start doing them too. So why will I bury you? Simple… because I:

  • always, always, always wear a seatbelt.
  • don’t eat meat except on rare occasions.
  • always stay positive.
  • am the master of my thoughts. I control them; they never control me.
    never skip breakfast.
  • eat organic foods when available, natural when they aren’t and never touch any sort of artificially created foodstuffs.
  • never add salt to my food.
  • make at least 50% of my diet raw vegetables and fruits.
  • steer clear of drugs.
  • don’t smoke.
  • don’t keep a gun in the house.
  • run at least 3 times a week at a reasonable pace.
  • do moderate weight training.
  • have a positive outlook on life.
  • do not work in a job that I hate. In fact, I love my job.
  • am no longer afraid of money and give it no power over me.
  • made a decision to be free of money, have that goal written down and carry it with me everywhere.
  • treasure my time with my family.
  • take care of my health by making regular visits to the doctor.
  • floss.
  • drink alcohol in moderation.
  • never drink and drive.
  • understand that the root of all suffering was craving.
  • no longer subscribe to militant atheism but instead allowed myself to believe in a gentler agnosticism, and most importantly not to obsess on a battle that’s really not relevant to my life.
  • play with my kids.
  • love my wife without reserve.
  • maintained strong relationships with my extended family.
  • give back to my community.
  • never dwell on the past.
  • never dream too much of the future.
  • stay fully engaged in the present.
  • am grateful
  • do not watch TV.
  • no longer have violent entertainment in my life.
  • never read the news.
  • eliminate toxic materials from my household.
  • never stop learning new things.
  • meditate daily.
  • smile and laugh.
  • spend time outdoors.
  • surround myself with positive people.
  • enjoy reading.
  • dress for comfort.
  • keep a clear and simple todo list.
  • live up to my promises.
  • forget slights against me.
  • remember dates that are important to others.
  • take my vitamins.
  • get plenty of sun.
  • breathe deeply at least once per day.
  • quit drinking caffeine.
  • never drink soda.
  • celebrate holidays with enthusiasm.
  • wake up early.
  • sleep just enough to feel rested.
  • relax.
  • never overeat, but also never skip meals.
  • steer clear of gossip.
  • give to charity.
  • do good deeds.
  • am kind to the elderly.
  • never compromise on my morals.
  • live an ethical life in terms of how I treat my environment and other living things.
  • focus on the distance.
  • travel.
  • don’t waste time on regret.
  • remember that after 2093, I will only exist in memories. The memory of my children will be my immortality.
  • never forget that this is not a trial life, or a starter life, or a dress rehearsal.

42 comments

  • That is quite a list! Your diet is extremely impressive! 50% raw fruit and vegetables! WOW! I was content when mine is about 1/3!

  • Nice list! I’ve made an overhaul to my nutrition as well since I graduated college. I’ve always had a great work ethic when it comes to exercise (6x a week) but pizza and beer every weekend was no way to achieve longetivity 😉

  • How does not keeping a gun in the house make you live longer?

    Actually, having a gun may save and extend your life one day (e.g. self-defense)

  • This is a great list. I’ve made great strides to improve my eating and exercise and I’ve been trying to eliminate stress as much as possible. You have some great suggestions.

  • Another option is that when you get to your 2 million you could liquidate it all and go volunteer for Aubrey de Gray.

    Naw, really good list. I’ve printed it out and will read and think about it properly this evening. I would also add “don’t drive” (less stress, no snow driving, less chance of boy racers killing you) but I’m a zealot like that. Don’t follow the Irish rugby or football teams is probably another bullet point, I swear they’ve taken 5 years off my life in the past 90 days.

  • Danny Tsang

    Whoa, great list! I’m going down the list saying “I do this, need to work on that, can’t do that” haha. Awesome.

  • Thanks everyone for the encouragement – saying it’s a good list is very helpful to keep me motivated too. I will point out that Saving Diva’s comment makes me reiterate that I’m not 100% of the way there on all of these! These are all things I plan on, but a bunch of them – quit drinking caffeine jumps to mind – are GOALS. Still not there yet. Down to one cup of coffee per day, no soda, just a little green tea and a lot of herbal tea, but not 100% there yet. The raw veggies thing is close, but if you audited my food it might be closer to 30-40%, although a lot of the cooked food is just cooked veggies.

    @Kevin: I know the Center for Injury Control, for example says that if a gun is kept in the home, a woman or child are more likely to be harmed by that gun than an intruder. States with higher rates of gun ownership have higher rates of homicide. In a very general sense, I believe having a gun in the home – especially with small children, like I have – is not a step towards a long life. I grew up with guns all around me, and it was obvious to me that the chances they would be used in self-defense were much smaller than the chance they’d be used against us in some way.

    But in all fairness that’s a matter for HUGE debate, and I’m actually not a particularly vocal anti-gun person. Just going with the stats…

  • In one point you say point take drugs, in another point you say drink alcohol in moderation – that a bit hypocritical !!

  • @DaveC: Maybe you’re interpreting something differently, but I don’t think I advocate taking drugs anywhere in that list – the only mention of drugs is “steer clear of drugs,” which means stay away from drugs.

  • is this a joke? does it worth living if you don’t watch TV?

  • each of those things SLIGHTLY modifies the chance of longevity.

    Seriously, of the oldest living people, most did not ascribe to your version of reality. The truth of the matter is that a majority factor in our time of death is pure randomness. In other words, some unhealthy, ornery, combative person could live to 95, while i could die today at 23 from a myriad of events beyond my control.

    It’s a good list for building a positive frame of mind, and will probably allow for a greater enjoyment of the time you have – but don’t expect it to make you survive until 2093.

    On the other hand, by 2093 some unthought of scientific breakthrough could very well extend human life well beyond the century mark… so you might make it anyways. 🙂

  • The claim that women and children are more likely to be harmed by having a gun in the home is pretty much false if you use proper precautions (trigger guards, etc.). Kellerman claims that having a gun in the home increases the chances of a homicide in the home by 2.7 times! But, that’s only if you are a criminal who uses drugs and has a history of violence, which doesn’t sound like you. And if you teach your family about guns rather than hiding it and forbidding it from your kids, they will learn to respect it, and will lose their curiosity.

    From http://www.guncite.com/gun-control-kellermann-3times.html:
    “As mentioned, a reasonable estimate of gun victims killed by a gun from the victim’s home is 34%. However, this number drops to 12.6% when households having a prior arrestee are excluded, and drops further to 7% when households with prior arrests, illicit drug use, or a history of violence are excluded. (That’s 3.5% of all matched cases. Likewise, the previously mentioned 4½ percent figure of all homicides involving a victim killed by a gun in the home falls to 2.1%.)”

    What would you do if a burgler came into your house? Hide? Attack him with a sword? I don’t like the idea of hiding.

  • If you don’t have a relationship with Christ AND believe he died for you because he loves you, on that list, you might as well hang it up. You are only a man and NO MATTER what you try to do, (eating healthy, exercise, etc.) is not going to make you happy and live a life even worth living. What great is it to a man to live a happy life and not a happy afterlife?… You were put on this earth for one reason and one reason only….I will pray that your eyes and heart will be open to the truth. I would rather believe in Jesus and have a chance of going to heaven, versuses not believing in him and then finding out when he does return that I was wrong….its your choice. I am not here to preach to you, just care about you and want to see you in the afterlife. 🙂

  • Hank – fair enough comments. I’m not a politically oriented blog and I’m not really equipped to argue the statistical pros and cons of gun ownership. I grew up around a lot of guns. I learned to use them at an early age. All that having been said, I’m leery of keeping them in the house, even if I didn’t live in a place where gun ownership is extremely difficult to legally. And yes, I have some weapons that I am familiar with other than guns to use in self-defense, in addition to a home defense system. If I ever do bring guns in my home, I’ll admit I was wrong, fair enough?

  • yeah, but what the hell good is it to live 200 years, if you have to act like that?

    hunter s thompson is laughing his ass of at you, somewhere

  • “In the end, it’s not going to matter how many breaths you took, but how many moments took your breath away.” – Shing Xiong

  • Something of an … odd … series of comments (I’m getting notified, so I got the one you hopefully deleted too). Where’d this post get linked?

  • complete new-wave claptrap. who wants to live that long?

  • I have to admit that guns are not the only answer to home defense – I’m glad you are taking other precautions as necessary. I’m just worried about the other 80% of people out there (completely made up statistic) that do not take any precaution whatsoever to protect their homes. Self defense is becoming less and less of a popular concern in today’s US society, and it’s enabling home intrusions to be child’s play. I wasn’t commenting to start an argument as much as to understand your stance on that issue. I also live in a place where gun ownership is extremely difficult, yet I managed to get a gun for my home. I do not have children, and perhaps I’ll do the same as my father did when I do (he sold his .45 when I was 3, but we had rifles and shotguns). In certain states, they require you to attempt to hide in a “panic room”, which is determined to be the safest place in the home, if you discover an intruder in your home. I am vehemently against this policy – if someone is in my home stealing my possessions, I deserve to be able to take action based on my 2nd and 4th amendment rights.

    Good article though – don’t let the Jesus freaks get to you :).

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  • I wonder why people react so vehemently to points in this? Maybe because they don’t want to think about how some behaviors may be shortening their lives?

    We’re all going to die someday. I think this list has lots of good points on how to have a healthier, happier life. Will I do it all? No, but I also know that I may not be optimizing my lifespan and I accept that.

    I’d add not being born in DE–chemical swamp with high cancer rates. *sigh* Can’t help that one now.

  • I think the commenter meant to call you out on the fact that you say avoid drugs but you say alcohol is ok in moderation. Alcohol is not only a drug but one of the most dangerous drugs there is. Don’t forget that although you can’t die from Heroin withdrawal (a REAL drug by most peoples standards) you can indeed die from alcohol withdrawal. Don’t let the worst drug (alcohol) off the hook)

  • Hey, you know what they say, you may not live longer than other people but it will sure FEEL that way… 😉

    Where’s the beef?!

  • @J: if that’s what was meant – that advocating alcohol while putting down drugs is hypocritical – fine. Alcohol is a dangerous drug, but I would argue that there have been enough studies showing moderate alcohol consumption’s health benefits that (a) if you are not prone to alcoholism and (b) if you really do moderately drink and not binge drink, then it’s different than illegal narcotics. A primary difference between alcohol and heroin is legality, and also the lack of quality control in an illegal product.

    I have no doubt that alcohol is an extremely dangerous drug for many, many people and from that point of view the wisest thing might be to avoid it altogether if you have the least doubt that you can enjoy it in moderation only. I would still not advocate any illegal drugs, simply because I’m not going to advocate anything illegal. Whether all of them SHOULD be illegal is a debate for a different kind of blog 🙂

  • @Mrs. Micah, @Guinness416: Some of the reactions are a little surprising, to say the least. I know that most people have strong feelings about being told what to do, though. I certainly wrote the article expressing an extremely “certain” point of view, which probably sets people off a bit. I’m not by any means a monk or a joyless person, but maybe that’s the way it comes off. I just think, having lived a very unhealthy lifestyle in the 90s that I’d rather be healthy. My most fun day when I was 320+ pounds, drinking, working like a maniac and sick all the time was not nearly as much fun as an average day at 200 pounds, eating healthy and feeling relaxed.

    To everyone in general who’s read this far I would just say that this list is my opinion. If you feel a life without TV isn’t a life worth living, this isn’t the article for you…

    If anyone has a good counterargument (like #11 joe about accidents or #12/#19 Hank about gun safety), hey, I am willing to admit that some of the points are open to debate.

    So at the risk of sounding a bit plaintive, the purpose of the list is just to provide some food for thought. If you take it as a personal insult to your lifestyle, sorry!

  • i thought i wrote that list for a minute. there are only a handful of things on there that i do not incorporate into my life.

    i do not have kids, am not married, do not meditate or give to charity. other than that, i am with you, except i own a gun.

    i commend you on your diet, your lack of t.v., etc. i cetainly do feel more healthy all of the time than when i was eating meat, drinking pop, smoking, etc.

  • For the record, I quit soda and TV quite a while ago (2 years), but I still watch TV shows from time to time like I watch movies from time to time – to what degree did you quit TV since there are many different degrees of this, mine being one of the most lax?

    I also eat meat, but enjoy a fairly fibrous diet. None of my relatives that I know of have lived for over 100 years, but most made it well into their 80’s even if they smoked. I don’t smoke, drink beer moderately, but avoid hard alcohol (I’m not in college anymore). I am not yet married, and do not have kids.

    It would be interesting to have a website dedicated to tracking people’s lifestyle anonymously (habits adn practices like you listed) that measured their lifespan. You’d have to have the cooperation of governments to verify time and cause of death for their profiles. That would be really handy (and morbid). I keep thinking back to this picture, and wonder if Facebook will ever integrate this sort of thing into their application:

    http://www.creativebinge.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/06/oldfacebook_fullsize.gif

    Thanks for the thought-provoking discussion. I may have to subscribe to this blog.

  • Yikes! That’s quite the trail of comments.

    The way I see this is that brip blap is going with things that are statistically correlated with living longer (guns in the house, wearing a seatbelt), things that give him peace of mind (being kind to the elderly, meditating, religious resolution, enjoying reading) and things that science has shown to be good for your health (not smoking, going easy on the red meat and alcohol, cutting back on salt).

    Obviously none of these things guarantee a long life, but each will improve the quality if not the quantity of his life.

    Do I agree with all of his points? No. I like to read the news from time to time, I like to watch TV, I hate that I’ve had to give up caffeine during my pregnancy (not to mention my beloved red wine and brie ), and I won’t be becoming an agnostic anytime soon. But if all of these things work for him, then he’s statistically increased his odds of a long and happy life.

    If you’re like Hank and you’re opening up a real discussion of various points of view of these items, great. I’m all for exchanging knowledge, values and considered opinions. But if you just dislike some of the points here, come up with your own list. I’ll be pondering mine over the next few days.

    Oh, and as a pharmaceutical worker I have to say: alcohol is not more dangerous than heroin. Alcohol is an addictive substance, and has caused many problems for many people. However it is less addictive than heroin (as in a far smaller percentage of people who use alcohol will get hooked then people who use heroin), has caused less crime (except during prohibition) than heroin, and is less likely to kill you simply because it’s regulated by the government. Alcohol manufacturers must follow safety standards and labelling requirements or they have their ability to sell their product revoked. The same can’t be said for heroin, pot, cocaine or any illegal substance.

    Unfortunately for him, poor Brip brap is unable to be one thing that is highly correlated with exceptionally long life: being female. Enjoy it while it lasts, girls. The advantage is fading fast.

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  • Hank, fecundity – all good points, and yes, I don’t think I can do much about the Y chromosome at this point 🙂

    Hank – way back in #7 I pointed out that I’m not 100% of the way there on all of these. I do watch TV from time to time, although I’m substantially better than I was a year ago. I used to come home and turn it on and leave it going all evening. Now I mostly watch movies, and I’ve been forcing myself to cut back on the blast-em-up movies that are (honestly) my favorites. I haven’t had more than 3 or 4 sodas in the last 3 years, though (once every few months I may have a Sprite, but it usually disgusts me right after I drink it).

    Fecundity – you’re right, there are no guarantees. The real purpose of the list is to highlight – as you said – behaviors that PROBABLY would contribute to an increase in longevity. I just wanted to get people talking, and I guess I did that, at least!

    Chance and genetics will play a big part in my longevity. I don’t deny that at all. But someone who engages in healthy behavior has a better shot at a long life. No guarantee, but a slight edge, maybe. Nothing can help versus fate, though. I’ve seen two middle-aged, relatively healthy people in the last year go into the doctor and come out with a diagnosis of terminal cancer (both died within weeks). And I have seen relatives who smoked, drank and never broke a sweat for 20 years live to be mid-80s.

    But who knows? I generally feel better when I do most of the things in that list, so why not keep at it? Most of it’s not for everyone but it would be impossible to write a list that would fit everyone’s expectations AND needs. Did my best 🙂

  • never read the news.
    never stop learning new things.
    enjoy reading.

    Why do hippies hate the news? But promote what it is?

  • @Email: from CNN today – these are the “top headlines”:

    Student: Clinton camp fed me question
    Police kill unarmed man holding brush
    Surgeon claims he operated on Kanye’s mom
    Blacks half of AIDS cases, 1% of AIDS quilt
    Ticker: Terrorist attack on mall portrayed in ad
    Governor calls on higher power for rain
    Man tortured 10 months wants apology
    WPLG: Man fleeing police killed by alligator
    Blast rips off man’s fingers at ball game
    Chlamydia cases sets STD record
    Suspect tries to flush gun down cell toilet
    Time: Alicia Keys gets phished
    How to keep sane on your holiday visit
    Casino implodes in way-cool glitzy fashion

    Tell me how many of those are “learning new things.” You call it news, I call it a waste of time. It doesn’t make me a hippie by any stretch of the imagination to dismiss news stories about flushing guns down toilets or casino fashions, does it?

  • Sorry the comment, it may have been too harsh. I forgot a smilly.

    I recieve news from friends, that I read, on a daily basis. I was pleased to read that Al Gore won the nobel peace prize.

    I have a long rant about News and TV about how people dismiss the medium independant of content as a choice of style.

    I enjoy the news and tv, and know many who don’t. I feel that it is just too simple to find elements of socity that you find distasteful and shoot the messenger.

    Sorry again for the hippie comment. Most people I know that live by the code you posted would consider it an honor.

    Again though, the human experinace is vast …
    Who are you to decide what learning is? how did you learn to not read the news?

  • It did seem harsh but that’s OK, I understand. I can’t see that a label like ‘hippie’ would ever be an honor, but if it was meant to be, thanks. While I might admire some of the (stereotypical) hippie qualities like peace, love, understanding, etc. I also had a lot of problems with their ideas (again, stereotypically) about drug use and the “drop out” mentality, which I think was destructive and childish. I am not a hippie by a long shot, in appearance, actions or beliefs.

    Let’s define news, though. First: I say something is news if it in some way provides me with information that affects my life. Where I draw the line is arbitrary. Troubles in Pakistan may someday cause me trouble due to their possession of nuclear weapons. Fair enough. Will knowing about riots and so on in Pakistan now cause me to act differently? No. Does it help my career? My family? My relationships with others? No, no, no.

    Second: the US media does not actually give us “reporting of events”. They SELL us news. NBC or CNN or FOX receive money for an entertainment program. Some people enjoy the part of the entertainment program that tells them about Paris Hilton, or a triple murder, or Pakistan riots. But each of those networks are using those stories to entice viewers to watch advertising. Same with papers, or online news. There is no not-for-profit news. I also particularly pick on the TV news and yes, I dismiss it both on the basis of style AND content.

    Third: the perception of the entire US media towards external events is flawed. If you saw the runup to the Iraq War it is clear that our media is unable to accurately determine the truth of events. They do not investigate. They report others’ assertions. Watch any news program for 30 minutes and at least once I guarantee you’ll see a reporter ask another reporter his OPINION of an event. That is not news.

    I love reading history. History is also seen through the eyes of the victors and so on, but there is some sort of consensus on events after the passage of time that you can’t get AS events occur. I can even start to agree that there is simply some benefit to being educated about the history of mankind in a general sense. I should know who Caesar is, who Robespierre was, who Hermann Goering was, I guess.

    I simply don’t think there is much value in learning too much that is not relevant to my daily existence unless I derive some other value from it. I have a lot to keep up with, as we all do. I do not find that knowing Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize is useful information for ME. I’m terribly glad, I think he represents what is best about America and I wish he was our president today. It might even just make me happier to know. Fine. But knowing he won an Oscar or a Nobel doesn’t really enlighten me, or help me. Reading his book and watching his movie did. Reading about the prizes he won for them didn’t. And hearing about a triple murder in San Diego or Dallas or the Bronx certainly helps me in no way, shape or form.

    Out of all of this, too, I’m just skipping past the fact that 90% of the news is ridiculous entertainment junk. Britney blah blah blah.

    My background is this: I used to be a news junkie. All day every day I read about death, stupid politics, the hopeless lives of so many of the world’s people and the sex lives of celebrities. I filled my head up with tension and worthless knowledge. Then one day, after reading a particularly horrible series of news stories about abused and murdered and mutilated children in the Sudan and in the US, I decided enough was enough. That time I spent reading about abused children? Better spent working to make more money and give it to causes I support like children.org and the Russian Children’s Welfare Society. The time spent on politics? Pointless – if you think anything these politicians say will come to fruition, go read about Bush’s compassionate conservatism. Go read about Clinton’s promises in 1992. There is nothing there. Time spent on celebrity news? Life wasted.

    And as far as the question “who am I to decide what learning is?” I cannot learn for you, or for my wife or my family or my friends. I can only learn for myself. For others I can teach, or give opinions, but I cannot learn for them. So who am I to decide what learning is? Since I am the only person I can learn FOR, I am the ONLY person who can decide what learning is for me. I turn around and explain my position, but whether you accept it as knowledge for yourself is up to you, just the same as my decision to watch the news or not was mine.

    And really, if the tone of this seems overly angry it’s not meant to be, but I do feel it strongly. None of this, finally, is original thinking. Thoreau said it best:”If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter, we never need read of another…. All news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea.” Thoreau had a strong opinion, and while I’m not THAT aggressively angry about it, he has a point.

  • Wow, great comment.

    I’m not a huge news reader but I always thought the “news” was a worthy thing to watch on tv. After reading this comment, I will have to rethink that idea.

    Mike

  • Insightful and thoughtful, I need to remember that in my own communications. thank you for making me think.

    never dwell on the past.
    stay fully engaged in the present.
    am grateful

  • well… someone sure knows the secret to immortality

    • Well, maybe not immortality – but at least a slight chance to improve the odds of living a bit longer 🙂

  • This is a really good article! Thanks for sharing this and I will be including a reference in an article that I am writing for another website that I own.

  • Insightful and thoughtful, I need to remember that in my own communications. thank you for making me think.

    never dwell on the past.
    stay fully engaged in the present.
    am grateful

  • I remember an article on that old French gal who lived to 112 or something who quit smoking at EIGHTY YEARS OLD and whose favorite foods were fried chicken and chocolate.. Your list certainly can't hurt, but I say the majority of it is in the genes, I'm afraid.

    BTW, I am a first time reader and poster. I'm hooked, great blog!

  • I remember an article on that old French gal who lived to 112 or something who quit smoking at EIGHTY YEARS OLD and whose favorite foods were fried chicken and chocolate.. Your list certainly can't hurt, but I say the majority of it is in the genes, I'm afraid.

    BTW, I am a first time reader and poster. I'm hooked, great blog!