Broker Check

Longevity Shock

| June 22, 2018

Sometime in early July, Sweetie and I will become great-grandparents to one Ruby Ann Mae Stelter Ingalsbe. She will be the firstborn daughter of our firstborn granddaughter. Ruby is a lucky girl. She will have a family who loves and adores her, and for a while, they'll meet her every need. Led by her parents, Ruby's family will keep her clean, feed her a nutritious diet, nurture her with the warmth of their bodies, attend to her medical needs (preventive and actual), see that she gets enough sleep, fill their homes with didactic learning aids, and offer everything else they can think of to get her life off to a good start. In short, they will overdo it. I've been there, and probably, so have you.

But, that's not the point of this essay. Thinking about Ruby's future has led me to reflect on my own childhood, which I remember well, despite the alleged cognitive decline of a typical seventy year-old. (By the way, Brain HQ shows that I still have the cognitive responses of an average twenty-something. And, that ought to scare you more than my actual chronological age.) When I was born, penicillin shots were only two years old. Tuberculosis was still a threat. Polio was the greatest fear of every young parent - at least my parents. I say that, knowing that they loved their children as much as Ruby's parents will love her. Still, no one back then had seat belts or baby carriers in their car, much less, power steering and power brakes and airbags. I could go on, so I will.

When I was born in 1947, my great-grandfathers had been dead for fifteen and twenty-five years, respectively. Mother's paternal grandfather was born in 1847. His counterpart on Dad's side of the family was born in 1853. I'm sure my great-grandfathers were loved by their parents, too. But, comparing the world of their birth to mine, and then to Ruby's - that's why I say she's a lucky girl.

With that thought, let me put a bug in your brain. If they were still living, Albert Ross Tomlinson and George Washington Harvey would be more than one hundred and fifty years old. Think of the changes they would have experienced over the course of their lives.

I believe that Ruby and her generation of Americans are likely to live that long or longer. Just look at what information technology has achieved over the past fifty years. My goodness, Sweetie watches movies on her Kindle, virtually for free. Whooda thunk!

I believe that medicine and biological science are on the cusp of a similar breakout. Stay healthy, my friends, and wait for it. 


Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.