Maybe I’m nuts, but I genuinely believe I can live to see my one hundredth birthday with a smile on my face, a spring my step and many more years of joy ahead of me. And you know what else I believe? It’s the perfect goal around which to structure your life.
Think about it. To be happy when you hit 100 years old, you need to live a good life for several decades between now and then.
When you hit 100 you’ll probably want to nurture a family you care about. You’ll want to be surrounded by friends that bring you joy. You’ll want to have rewarding pastimes that fuel your passions. You’ll want to feel like you are—and have been—a good person. You’ll want to be financially secure. You’ll want enough spare cash that you can still follow your dreams, whatever they may be in the years still to come.
To have those things at 100, you need to be working towards them now and maintaining them throughout your life.
But making it to 100 years old and being happy isn’t enough. You also need the time and capability to enjoy it. To put it another way: you also need to be super healthy—not just for your age, but by anyone’s measure.
What’s the point in reaching 100 years old and being happy if you die the next day? You want to show your great-grandkids (or your friends' great-grandkids) that being old doesn’t mean you have to stop living the dream. You want to be able to take up new hobbies, compete in new sports, travel to new places—maybe even get on that shuttle to Mars.
Many of my grandparents' generation lived to see their 90th birthday, although they were feeling their age by the end. With advances in living conditions and medical care, I don’t think it’s outrageous that I expect to see my 113th birthday in rude health.