[A version of this post appears on HECMWorld.com]
Who Wants to Live Forever?
Guest Blog by Amara Rose
Follow Amara’s writings at LiveYourLight.com
and on Twitter @Amara_Rose
In the landmark film, The Graduate, there is a memorable scene in which an older businessman intercepts a young Dustin Hoffman, intent on giving him sage advice. He leans in and says confidentially, “Young man, I want to say one word to you. Plastics.”
If the film were being made today, that businessman might whisper, “Telomeres.”
These protective end caps on our chromosomes determine how quickly we age and die. Each time our cells divide, the telomeres shorten. Shortening telomeres equal a shortening life.
However, in 1984 scientists discovered a game-changing enzyme, telomerase, that slows, stops, and can even reverse telomere shortening. We’re born with the telomerase gene “turned off,” making natural aging inevitable. But if (when) we find a way to switch this gene on, we will have the ability to become immortal. Such research is already underway.
Which is a bit scary. What, for instance, would living forever (or at least for several centuries) mean in terms of work, retirement, finances, and, dare I say it, potential boredom? Not to mention planetary carrying capacity.
I’ve just read Dan Brown’s latest, Inferno, in which a genius geneticist concocts a plague that will wipe out a third of Earth’s population, his intent being a variation on the theme, “destroy the world in order to save it.” And in a breathtaking earlier novel, The Eight by Katherine Neville, an elusive elixir of immortality is relentlessly pursued across continents and centuries, no matter the cost.
So living forever may not be in our best interest just yet. Spiritual maturation as a species comes first. And, we are growing there. In the meantime, the Boomer generation is reinventing the concept of how and when to die. Just as they reinvented retirement from a time of withdrawal and relaxation to one of encore careers, they are reclaiming death from fear, pain, and suffering to a time of dignity and control. Clearly, Boomers do not intend to “go gentle into that good night.”
With the last taboo now a subject of dinner conversation at more than 500 Death Cafés worldwide, it seems safe to say that unless and until telomerase is on tap in every home, Boomers will want to discuss and determine what their end of life will look like. So if you work with the “chronologically gifted” or are among this cohort group yourself, ostrich syndrome is no longer an option.
This evolving demographic wants meaning, purpose and closure as their lives ripen and they embrace the power and potential time and wisdom confer. Boomers know it’s a stunning moment to be aboard Earth, in control of one’s destiny. And their telomeres are driving the train.
About the Author: Amara Rose is a metaphysical “midwife” for our global rebirth. She offers personal and business alchemy for individuals and organizations, including coaching, content development, branding, social media and strategic marketing. Learn more at LiveYourLight.com, where you can subscribe to her inspirational e-newsletter, What Shines.