There is no "I don't know what to do with my life"

There should be no such thing as "I don't know what to do with my life." Scratch that statement away and erase it, as it should be "I will aid the development of life extension technology until I do know."

It should be no surprise to anyone that many, or perhaps even a majority of people at any given time have no real idea as to what they want to do with their lives. No vision, no grand dream that captures them, no burning desire to achieve a specific great work. That isn't because they are incapable - far from it, it is because they haven't found their own personal blue touch paper yet. The space of ideas and ideals is vast, and even the most aggressively autodidactic internet-addicted polymath cannot embrace more than a fraction of the sphere of human knowledge. Yet you cannot know your grand vision, the one that resonates with everything your life has led to up until that point, if you never encounter its roots.

Which is where we come back to time. We tell the younger folk that it doesn't matter if they don't know what they want to do with their lives, as that knowledge will come with time. The rituals and mythology that spring from the passage from childhood to adulthood, repeated billions of times over the course of history, are as much about expanding horizons as they are about anything else. In our comparatively wealthy modern society, that process of expansion doesn't have to stop when you stop growing in body - except for the fact that we are all limited by the realities of the human condition, and aging in particular.

Our lives have a timer, and we are all well aware of it, for all that many of us prefer not to think about it at all. The whole structure of life and society revolves around the existence of that timer, as it ticks away the freedom we have remaining in which to find and work on something worthwhile. The rush to find meaning in life? There because we don't have enough time. The need to save for retirement and medical costs? The timer again, ticking away our health and ability to fend for ourselves.

When you cannot see even the first shape of what will be your life's work, and time is ticking away, the best thing you can do is to offer a helping hand to those who work on making more time - scientists, advocates, and others who support research and development of rejuvenation biotechnologies. You can do that at the same time as you search for the cause or idea that truly speaks to you, and it beats slumping back into the grey doldrums that seem to afflict so much of our society: people who never found that fire inside, and who have no time left in which to do so.

You have an option that the older folk of previous generations did not: you can help make more time for everyone, more health, more years, and time enough to find meaning in what you do.

Comments

An interesting, and to me, a compelling reason to support rejuvenation biotech research. I, who turned 29 in the past week, am still learning a lot about myself every year, which I catalog in a personal journal entry every year on my birthday, reflecting on my life, my development in the past year, and my excitement about the future. I wonder how well I'll know myself - what I enjoy, and as you say, "what speaks to me" - when I'm 40, or 50, or....150....or 500? I find the wisdom that (I presume) comes with advancing age (but only when accompanied by living consciously and introspectively) to be exciting and enjoyable (from my experiences so far), and I want more of it. Onward and upward!

Posted by: Max Peto at July 1st, 2011 2:12 PM

Such a great thought. So simple, so powerful.

Posted by: Aaron Stupple at July 3rd, 2011 8:57 AM

Somebody just sent me this ad for Fight Aging out of nowhere, and I suppose I'm interested.

On the other hand I'm not really interested in fighting aging: I plan on doing as much aging as possible.

-dlj.

Posted by: David Lloyd-Jones at July 3rd, 2011 4:47 PM

One of the greatest opiniona I have ever read. Thank you, sir.

Posted by: ZARAND at July 3rd, 2011 5:25 PM

@David Lloyd-Jones: Out of nowhere? You're signed up for the mailing list, which requires you to both enter your email address here at Fight Aging!, and then respond to a confirmation email sent to your address. So at some point you did that.

Posted by: Reason at July 3rd, 2011 5:43 PM

And this applies to depression how? This little screed is much like the milk commercials that conveniently forget lactose-intolerance. There is very much a 'I don't know what to do with my life'---often coupled with 'What's the point of my life' You paint a picture that is both rosy and entirely too black and white.

Posted by: Hugh S. Myers at July 4th, 2011 8:36 AM

Such a stupid thought. Our society is not wealthy just because you and all the people you see in your everyday life are rich, every 7 seconds a human being starves to death on this planet! People die because they don't have anything to eat and you want to stop them from aging, what the hell is wrong with you? Not to mention the decadence of how much we have to eat at the same time.
Seriously, we have more important problems to worry about then fighting aging, and personally I could hate you for even doing this. Your anti-aging stuff will only be accessible to a previleged few anyway, so why even bother? I have better things to do with my life and so does everybody else.

There are a couple more things that make not aging pretty stupid aswell, psychological (the guy above me already wrote something about that, though I think if you take stuff that makes you not aging you will likely also take opiates or some other anti-depressant to be happy for the rest of your never ending life), but it would also give us huge trouble regarding resources and population-overgrowth if really everyone could live forever. People still want to have sex and children, but I'm sure there will be a drug to get rid of that horrible disease.

Posted by: person at July 4th, 2011 10:15 AM

@Hugh S. Myers: It doesn't apply to depression. I'd guess someone found it interesting and posted to a forum on depression - though I think they missed the point. This is about people who have found their calling, and people who have not; you can be depressed on either side of that line.

@person: 150,000 people die every day, of which 100,000 or so are the result of aging and the conditions of aging. That's one every second. If it's all about numbers for you, then you're fighting the wrong fight. Further, overpopulation and limited resources are myths: they are not the cause of the suffering we see in the Third World. See:

https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2009/08/there-is-no-overpopulation-only-waste-corruption-and-inhumanity.php

Posted by: Reason at July 4th, 2011 10:54 AM

@Reason: According to Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_causes_of_death_by_rate#Causes_ranked_by_frequency

58% of deaths worldwide are caused by hunger/malnutration. That's an absolute majority so even if you combine all deaths even slightly related to aging (which is like half that list) you won't come close.
I was actually very wrong with my 1 starvation per 7 seconds, Wikipedia says a child under 5 starves every 5 seconds while alltogether 36 million people starve per year which is 1 in less than a second.
I have to say the numbers are from 2002 and are probably diffrent today. They are also not as clear as it seems, see introduction to the article.

About the overpopulation thing: You are right that at present the problem is more a problem of distributon than of acctual resources, however I ask you: how can infinite growth be possible with finite resources? At some point there will be not enough to eat, at some point there will be no forest left, at some point people would be walking on each other. We could fly to Mars and turn earth into a giant food factory, but do you really want that? Ruin this unique and beautiful place? Make humans live longer and therefor make everthing else suffer? Sounds more like solid dystopia to me, but that might just be because I care about other life forms aswell. And even if we do all that, eventually we WILL all die, there's no way around it, all you can do is delay it.
Now that I'm already talking about other beings, in that other article there was talk of the horror, pain and suffering of death. Animals die and suffer too (and you even kill them), now do you want to make them not aging too? Why not? Because they are lower life forms that earn no respect?

After clicking on a couple of links on this page, in one article, I read about the 'human holocaust that we call "natural death."'
You can't be serious, is this like a satire website? People die, that's the way it is, there's nothing bad about it and it's not a holocaust. If you would have atleast a little rest of respect for life left you would understand.

Posted by: person at July 4th, 2011 12:49 PM

@person: That Wikipedia reference seems like a dubious claim - it doesn't even begin to match up with the WHO data:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/index.html

On the rest of it, I encourage you to read around your subject a little more, and gather a better understanding of human action: how humans and their environment actually interact over the long term, and how economic and other pressures shape the course of societies and technological development.

On "people die, that's the way it is," you might replace that with "people live in caves, that's the way it is," or, "most children die from infectious disease before they are four years old, that's the way it is," or "there is no treatment for heart disease, and that's the way it is," and so on. You benefit personally from thousands of successful past efforts to improve life; it's a little cynical for you to draw the line on what's natural exactly where you presently stand.

Posted by: Reason at July 4th, 2011 1:39 PM

The reference is UN stuff, so whatever, I don't know which one's right.

How about you just say what's wrong with what I said instead of talking around it?

What I basically wanted to say is: death is a fundamental part of life, there can be no life without death and death is an inevitable part of life, accept it. Just because I don't like erasing natural death doesn't mean I'm opposed to all kinds of technological progress, but being progress doesn't make it a necessarily good thing and we should be especially carefull if it's about such radical things as preventing people from aging.

I go to bed now, I'll check by tomorrow.

Posted by: person at July 4th, 2011 2:11 PM

Yes good post.

It is like we are all on the Titanic post iceberg, without any lifeboats, but rather than try to build a liferaft, everyone is focusing on enjoying the music before the ship goes down.

Where the above metaphor breaks down, is that with life extension and unlike with actual ships, no one has ever successfully built a liferaft... in the entire history of the world, although many have made that promise, wasting a lot of others time and effort. So people's reticence to do anything other than live in the present is understandable.

Posted by: Jim at March 16th, 2014 7:36 PM

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