Living Forever for One Year

I’m thinking about writing a book that will require me to live forever…for a year.

A few years ago there were a rash of books about people who tried to do something to the extreme for one year. I found the concept fascinating, and I read a few of them, most notably The Year of Living Biblically (a guy follows all of the rules of the Bible–as zany as many of the more obscure ones are–for one year to see how it affected him personally and spiritually).

My book idea is in the same vein. The concept is that for one year, I would act on all advice that scientists give us about living longer.

You’ve probably heard some of this advice:

  • Drink a glass of red wine a day and you’ll live longer.
  • Take an aspirin a day and you’ll live longer.
  • Eat a few pieces of dark chocolate a day and you’ll live longer.

My ears always perk up when I hear this type of advice, especially if it’s easy to follow. And some of it goes well beyond eating a piece of chocolate. For example, there’s a small town in Italy where fatty foods comprise 41% of their diet, but bonds and support that are an integral part of this close-knit community gives its residents one of the highest life expectancy levels in the world?

The book would explore why, exactly, we want to live longer–if not forever (think vampires, religion, the fountain of youth, etc). What’s so appealing about immortality? And what about the aging of your body versus that of your mind–what do you value more? We spend so much money trying to look younger, but what is it about aging that we so despise?

So this is something I’m thinking about doing. Some of the advice I already take by coincidence (i.e., you live longer if you have a pet), but there’s quite a bit that I’d need to add into my life. And it’s not just longevity advice–there’s also mortality advice. What good is eating legumes every day if you get eaten by a grizzly bear on Day 18?

One gimmick I’d like to include in this book is that I want to take more than just the advice of scientist. I also want to take (if only temporarily) any advice that you’ve ever heard about living longer. If your crazy uncle once told you that you’ll live longer if you eat a spoonful of peanut butter upside down every day, I want to do it.

So if you have a minute, let me know any longevity advice that you’ve ever heard. That’s a very good chance I’m actually going to take this advice, and I’ll give you credit in the book. Keep in mind the distinction between being healthier and living longer. There’s a lot of overlap between the two, but I want to specifically focus on advice you’ve heard about longevity. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but does it add a year to your life?

Thanks for your help, and have a Merry Christmas!

20 thoughts on “Living Forever for One Year”

  1. I don’t know about the advice (I suspect some of it would conflict, as I would suspect some of the advice in the bible conflicts, depending on interpretation). But I’ve been thinking about the appeal of living forever as well. A couple of things strike me. First off, most people are afraid of either the action of dying and/or the state of being dead. Presumably because we cannot wrap outr heads around it. But as importantly, I wonder what would be different, how would we prepare? Most of us muddle through life getting by, because that makes practical sense. We work all our lives to make enough to e joy a few years of freedom (retirement), before our bodies begin to fall apart. If we lived forever, we’d presumably have to contribute forever to sustain ourselves. The planet could not sustain as much reproduction, because the population would become more unstable than it already is (stretching resources).
    In the theme of Tolkien (thanks for the link), death was a gift the gods gave man, because elves, though immortal, became weary of the world. I wonder when we become weary of the world?

  2. Ahahaha the first one that popped into my head was “Married people live longer.” I have heard it, for sure. So I guess you have to get married now. (I think a key part of this advice is that it’s HAPPY marriages. I can see how a bad one might finish you off earlier.)

    Umm… I have heard one that’s sort of interesting, and it’s that quitters are happier, healthier, and tend to live longer than non-quitters. “Quitters” meaning people who, upon discovering that they don’t enjoy something they’re doing, simply quit. They don’t feel a burden to “follow through” or “finish what they started” or whatever.

    They just stop and move on to something else. This is reminiscent of my freshman year of high school. It was my 4th year to play volleyball and I was really good. My coach wanted to move me up from JV to Varsity, but I was really sick of volleyball and hated it, so instead of accepting the promotion, I quit entirely.

    It was such a liberating, wonderful day.

    Quitters=happier=healthier=longer life.

    • I think I agree with this about quitting. It’s scary as hell, but it’s quite refreshing and liberating. Just have to be careful not to become a serial quitter…

    • Anne–So I have to get married next year, and if I find I don’t like it, I have to quit? These are lofty expectations. 🙂

      I like both of them (separately), though. I’ll add them to the list.

  3. Awesome! I knew you were considering this, and now that it’s on the blog, it is law 🙂

    There are some really interesting ones in this article! I propose that you move to Japan (again) with your religious mother, a clone of yourself, and a bunch or ornamental plants, then spend the year eating only food that goes straight to your butt (in both the weight sense and the shooting through your system so you can squat more often over your pit toilet sense) while being diligent about flossing afterwards.

    OR–maybe try to regularly drink a little coffee. I’m not sure which would be more challenging for you 🙂

    • HAHA, T-Mac, I love that you view it as “law” now that it’s on the blog. That’s why I started a blog, to keep myself accountable. The more people who remind Jamey he’s going to write this book, the more likely he’ll do it 😉 JAMEY’S LAW!

      Anyway, Jamey, my dad read an article about a celery farmer who was the oldest man in America (back one day forever ago…2000 or so), so my dad decided that eating celery helps you live longer.

      I also might suggest you check out the documentary called Happy. It deals with the subject of happiness and as part of that, longevity of life. So, you could find some valuable research sources from the documentary credits itself (surely they had to do a bit of background research before making the film). Part of it is in Japan, so you might find that interesting in particular since you lived there.

      Anyway, here’s to life!

      • Lorena–I’m taking your celery advice solely because it’s so random. And I’ll definitely check out that documentary. Any other movies about living longer/forever you’d suggest? Someone suggested Tuck Everlasting.

    • Trev–That list is awesome! Might be tough to pull all of it off, but I’ll give it my best shot. I’ve heard the coffee one from a few people. Do frappacinos count?

  4. My grandmother’s cousin lived to 104 and she said the key to her longevity was avoiding strenuous work.

    Also, you should consider going on a calorie-restricted diet. I’m talking like 600 cal/day. That’s supposed to increase your lifespan.

    Good luck.

    • 600 calories a day?! I think I could try that temporarily, but it would be very hard to maintain. I was hoping for something like, “you have to eat a pound of chocolate a day and snuggle with at least 3 kittens.”

      • 600 calories a day is totally possible, albeit challenging. I used to eat 925 calories a day and it was totally doable. Cutting out an extra 300 would have been tough, but for the promise of a longer life, totally worth it.

        I think 3 kitten snuggles a day is definitely linked to longevity. I don’t know about 3 different kittens though, because I suspect that might be risky depending on your source for kitties. If you are a monogamous kitten snuggler though, go for it.

        • I’m not even quite sure what a 600 calorie diet looks like. Nor do I know how many calories I currently consume. All I know is that a fun-size Kit-Kat has 73 calories, so that doesn’t bode well.

          I can limit my snuggles to Biddy. I’m pretty sure when he purrs while resting his head on my chest, I extend my life by a few weeks.

  5. Laughing is good for you. Try it out like in the video. Do it every morning, lunch time at work, and before going to sleep. It should help release stress and among other things.


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