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How to Live Forever (or Does It Just Feel That Way?)

Jeff Duff is a Wisconsin widower with six sons. He has pondered the challenge of immortality for 66-years and wishes to share his solution.

Longest Living Human:  An artist's rendering of Methuselah, the longest-living man in the Holy Bible. He lived 969 years, according to biblical sources.

Longest Living Human: An artist's rendering of Methuselah, the longest-living man in the Holy Bible. He lived 969 years, according to biblical sources.

How Fast does Time Fly?

How fast does time go by, when you are older? In my 66-years of existence, I have heard several different sayings and comments on the passage of perceived time. I also feel the ever-increasing passage of time and I agree with one of the most common comments that I have read or heard in the last 20 years or more: "Time seems to move faster the older you get!"

That seems like a simple enough assertion to test scientifically, and yet psychologists have found no definitive answer as to whether or not here is truth to the concept that time (at least, "perceived time") goes by faster as we get older.

Of course, objective time is a part of the laws of physics. We count it every day by looking at a watch, clock or calendar, and we can all assure ourselves that a 10-year old, a 20-year old, a 40-year old, a 60-year old and an 80-year old can all look at the same clock on the wall and the clock's display of time passed will be the same for all of us. Objectively, time moves at the same pace for all of us, whether 10-years old or 100-years old.

So, we are not speaking of objective time when we wonder about time "going by" quickly or slowly. We are speaking of perceived time, as perceived by human beings.

Longest Living Mammal (non-human):  Bowhead Whales have estimated maximum life spans of 200 to 260 years, according to scientists.

Longest Living Mammal (non-human): Bowhead Whales have estimated maximum life spans of 200 to 260 years, according to scientists.

Perceived Time Measured by Science

Ph. D. psychologist and writer, Ronald E. Rigglo, has written a brief and very readable explanation of what the current psychological science has to say about our perception of passing time, based on scientific research:

"Does it seem like Christmas comes sooner and sooner each year? As a child, it seemed like Christmas would never get here. As an adult, they seem to come around sooner and sooner. Many middle-aged folks (whatever that means) notice that time seems to be flying by; the years quickly pass. Why is it that time appears to go more quickly as we get older?

There are some recent books that tackle this psychological issue, and while there are a number of theories, the best explanation is that novel experiences seem to slow time perception down. Repetition of events seems to make them go faster. As a child, who has experienced few Christmases, each one brings anticipation and a certain novelty. For the parents (and especially the grandparents), it’s all too familiar – the same old, same old."

So, if we are young, our days are frequently filled with new and interesting events and objects, making our youthful days more memorable. But, as we grow older, our days become more and more filled with events and objects that we have seen before, and often many times before! This kind of repetition happens to human beings - more and more often - as we increase with age. As our days become less and less memorable, the perceived passage of our hours, days and months seem to go by faster. So, time seems to just 'fly by'!

For the full article by Dr. Rigglo, go to this link.

Longest Living Bird:  Poncho the Greenwing Macaw Parrot was 92-years old in 2019, living in a British pet shop and still going strong, making him the oldest living bird whose age is known for certain.

Longest Living Bird: Poncho the Greenwing Macaw Parrot was 92-years old in 2019, living in a British pet shop and still going strong, making him the oldest living bird whose age is known for certain.

Perceived Time Measured by the Average Person

Despite having a college minor in psychology, I make no claims that I am a psychologist - or a scientific expert - of any sort. But, I have lived on this mudball we call Earth for 66 years now and I have made a few observations along the way. I think I have an alternative suggestion for why I believe 'time flies by faster', the older we reach in age.

When we are young we don't know everything that we would enjoy doing. We don't have fully developed thoughts, interests and desires. We are also under the control of parents and adults, who often have no idea what we kids would prefer to do (often because children don't either!) and - frankly - adults often don't care what children themselves would prefer to do.

But, as people get older, they experience new people, activities, environments and objects, so gradually learning what the world around them offers. Aside from these experiences, children also gradually gain more and more freedom of action, plus the ability and financial wherewithal to experience new people, activities, environments and objects. Pretty soon, children become adults and begin to enjoy an even wider range of pleasures. This gradual increase in pleasurable experience continues to grow as adults age, although probably at a slower pace after middle age.

The point is, we gradually age and, as we do grow older, we gradually learn what we enjoy and do those things more and more frequently. We also become more able (in a relatively free society) to avoid those people and things that we find boring or unpleasant.

Another famous saying is, "Time goes by fast, when you are having fun." This is one of those truisms that just seems to be self-evident and it does have an effect on our perception of time.

Longest Living Reptile:  His name is 'Adwaita' and this Galapagos Giant Tortoise is about 255 years old, according to scientific estimates.

Longest Living Reptile: His name is 'Adwaita' and this Galapagos Giant Tortoise is about 255 years old, according to scientific estimates.

Can People Live Forever ... or just Live Longer?

According to statistical scientists Michael Pearce and Adrian Raftery from the University of Washington, the actual maximum confirmed life span for human beings was 122 years. According to Pearce and Raftery, "When Jeanne Calment of France died in 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days, she set a record for oldest human. That record still stands."

Sadly, even Methuselah had his life end at 969 years, so living forever is still impossible. Never the less, living 969 years - or even 122 years - is a fantastically good run for a human being! But, even behaving wisely, eating moderately, having good genes and avoiding bad habits will only give you a maximum shot of living to about 122 actual years of age. (Of course, having God on your side is a big advantage if you wish to achieve a super-long life ... just ask Methuselah!)

But living an extraordinarily long life is still available to all of us, if not actually beyond 122 years or so, then in your perception of a long life. For example, even people who have bad habits and use God's name in vain, can live an apparently long life - at least, as they will psychologically perceive it.

The secret is actually the reverse of the famous saying, "Time flies when you are having fun." That is to say, my secret solution to living Damned Near Forever(tm) is encapsulated in this saying, "Time crawls slowly for those who never have fun."

So, if you can avoid enjoyable people, activities, environments or objects, perceived time will slow to a crawl. You may not get to live forever, but it may likely seem that way. You are well on your way to perceived immortality!

Longest Living Amphibian:  Japanese Salamanders have been verified to live up to 52 years in captivity.

Longest Living Amphibian: Japanese Salamanders have been verified to live up to 52 years in captivity.

It's Not Easy to Feel Immortal!

So, no human being can actually live forever. In fact, no living organism - whether plant or animal - can actually live forever. But, with a little work and planning, you too can feel like you have lived for hundreds of years! (Old Joke: "Do strict vegetarians live longer ... or does it just feel that way?")

To FEEL like you are going to live for a hundred years or more - maybe hundreds of years! - it's up to you to decide how long it feels like you will live. First, time flies by when you are having fun, right? So, you must avoid any and all people, activities, events and objects that you find to be fun, entertaining, pleasurable or interesting. No friends or family, no video, audio or musical entertainment, no dogs. cats or other pets, no hobbies, crafts or games you will enjoy, no pleasurable food and beverages, no engaging in or watching sports, no recreational drinks or drugs, no trips to taverns, concerts or libraries, no interesting religious groups, social clubs or museums/galleries, and no enjoyable books, magazines, internet, computing or sight-seeing. To reiterate, you can NOT indulge in anything - or with anyone - that is fun, entertaining, pleasurable or interesting!

Second, you can only live Damned Near Forever(tm) in the correct places on Earth. You see, some places are simply more inherently fun or interesting than other places. You must choose not to live in cities or medium-sized communities, unless you almost never leave your home. Some places, such as cities, large towns, quaint villages, amusement parks, tourist attractions, mountains, beaches, oceans, lakes, rivers and state and national parks are almost always interesting or fun, often in two or more ways. Therefore, these places are completely off-limits for the Immortally Inclined(tm) ... and that probably includes most of us, am I right?

Third, the Immortally Inclined(tm) are strongly advised to to live in small houses or apartments. Living alone at home is best, as spouses, lovers, friendly people, roommates and relatives tend to be too pleasurable or interesting to be around. Leave your near-barren home as little as you possibly can! You do want to live Damned Near Forever(tm), don't you?

Fourth, just as important as living alone in a boring little home, apartment or room is to choose a very boring 'community' to live in. No fun or interesting events for you! This is why living as a hermit in a barren wilderness has been so popular, over the past hundreds of centuries. Other great choices for the Immortally Inclined(tm) are run-down and completely (or mostly) uninhabited little villages, isolated farm homes, small cabins in the woods, the Arctic and Antarctic wildernesses, and finally, ghost towns in the middle of nowhere. Just do a little a little homework and you can find empty, boring and barren places to live, not far from your current location (if you prefer).

One of those Places You Could Seemingly Live Forever (if it wasn't a State Park)

Bodie, California is a state-protected ghost town and the perfect type of place to live by yourself, if you want to feel like you are going to live for hundreds of years (in perceived lifespan).

Bodie, California is a state-protected ghost town and the perfect type of place to live by yourself, if you want to feel like you are going to live for hundreds of years (in perceived lifespan).

A Mortal Dilemma

But, the final dilemma of the near-immortal lifestyle for older adults can be summarized this way: (1) Do you want to feel like you are living another 100 or 200 years (or more), in a totally boring PERCEIVED life span ... or (2) Do you want to live an actual further life span of 10, 20 or even 50 more years in objective life span, actually enjoying the fun or interesting people, activities, events or locations you prefer?

No human being can ACTUALLY, biologically live for an additional 200 or 300 years, no matter what you do, what you eat or drink, or how you live your life. But, if you play your cards right, you can sure as Hell feel like you have lived an additional 200 or 300 years. You, too, can feel like you have lived DAMNED NEAR FOREVER(tm) !

© 2022 Jeffrey Duff

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