This semester I have to take a gerontology class. Although the teacher is an incredibly sweet woman who seems to love what she teaches, the class is godawful boring and sometimes I swear I'd rather pull my toenails off with pliers than sit through that class at 8am any longer. My professor seems to really enjoy working with the elderly (ie 65 and older) and she definitely has a passion for it, but the subject itself is not only depressing to think about but it's also painful to listen to. I can pretty much sum up the semester in one sentence: as you get older, functioning decreases, things on the inside shrink, things on the outside grow, and your risk of chronic disease multiplies by the year. I know my teacher would say otherwise, but aging is just not a pretty picture.
That being said, I get really frustrated with the fact that our society is so determined to extend the length of lives without making equal progress increasing the quality of it. Granted, quality is what each person determines it should be for themselves, but sometimes it just gets absurd. We have so many medications out there than can keep people alive for decades longer than they might originally live, but we can't prevent cancer, or cure diabetes, or vaccinate against Alzheimer's among other things. So while you may be able to live until 95 years old, there's a good chance that those last 5 or 10 years may be absolutely miserable because your heart is failing, the chemo for your cancer has eaten away your insides, your kidneys don't want to clean you out anymore, and you're losing your mind. Sounds peachy to me.
I realize everyone has their own view of this; I'm sure my professor would completely disagree with me. But I won't lie, although I fully intend on having plastic surgery to look young for as long as possible, when my body starts failing me, it's time to skydive without the chute. My intended quality of life just doesn't include chemo, transplants, colostomy bags, pressure ulcers, and dementia...but then again, that's just me.