Time is something of which we are all aware. Over the years, time seems to accelerate. Whether this is a perceptual illusion, the result of living and experiencing time in a different way as we age, or an actual fact, is an interesting question.
One day in the life of a two-day-old baby is fifty percent of their current lifetime, while one day for an eighty-year-old is only .003 percent of their existence. Much happens in a single day of a child because every day is a comparatively large proportion of how long they have lived in comparison to a day as a future adult.
For example, do you remember summer vacations being so much longer when you were little as compared to today? There was plenty of time. To me, summers would blissfully stretch forever into the future, while every September, the school year would cast an equally long shadow before me. The length of time didn’t change, but my perception of it did.
Cynthia Kenyon, an American Molecular Biologist, discovered in 1993 that mutating a single gene (daf-2) in the C. elegans roundworm doubled their lifespan, and that this could be reversed by a second mutation in the daf-16 gene. Research in this area continues, but whether the findings can be utilized to double the length of a human life is still unknown. The idea of living to 160 or 200 got me wondering about a few things.
Sometimes the questions are more important than the answers. To begin to formulate them is to start to see the difficulties involved, and perhaps gain an insight into that area of unknowns. Ultimately, without questions, there can be no answers.
Science will likely extend the span of our lives, but no matter how long those extensions may be, I think growing that old will require extraordinary inner strength and courage, but I’m not particularly worried. I have post-it notes aplenty around here somewhere.