Photo by Johnny Cohen / Unsplash

The rich fight aging with "magical" interventions. The rest of us can do much the same thing with a lot less money, and a whole lot less idiocy

With a caveat. There's always a caveat. This one assumes access to good food and a way to move regularly in a safe place, both of which and more are simply not available to far too many. However, that said, and better writers address those issues better than I can, let me get to the heart of this.

Want to know how old you really are? Not your chronological age, but your biological age, which reveals how well your body is truly functioning no matter what your number says?

Here for about $300 is one way to do it (this is an example of the sales pitches not a recommendation)

I've got friends who've tried their stuff (doesn't work) and others like it. Caveat emptor.

There's immense ego appeal in that question. All kinds of tests, both free and online or more sophisticated, exist to let you know how your body is really doing as we pack on the years. Or the pounds. Or both, as it were.

Eight years or so ago I was mildly obsessed with an instrument that I'd found online which gave me my "real" age in response to a laundry list of questions about my lifestyle and habits. It was easy to manipulate your answers to get a better score, which in this case was a lower age. So if you fudge the truth here and there, oh, just a little, the test will drop your biological age a few years.

That feels SO good to the ego. You're sixty-something, but your REAL age is 51.

Bragging rights to the world, right? Not really, if we fudged the truth.

Usually such free tests are a gateway to get your email and to push all kinds of so-called anti-aging products at us. The method is to get us hooked on the idea that we can, indeed, turn back the clock.

The truth is that each of us ages differently. That's driven by a slew of factors, the least of which is genes (which is often the most-used as an excuse). How well and how long our parents and relatives age also influences our longevity, but longevity alone isn't the point.

Healthspan is. In other words, quality of life for as long as we can possibly have it.

Healthspan is the period of life spent in good health, free from the chronic diseases and disabilities of aging.

If what we really want is a very very long healthy life, with luck right up until the day our ticker gives out midstride or mid-skydive, we have a lot of work to do. Part of that is to stop lying to ourselves with silly tests we can manipulate. I ve been guilty of it so I'm addressing myself here. The other part is to stop chasing pills, potions, lotions and magical fountains to turn back time.

None of us wants to end our lifespan with a lousy outcome, stuck full of tubes and our life's savings draining into the pockets of Big Medicine and Big Pharma. Yet many are draining their life's fortune right now trying to reverse aging, and the message, especially via social media and silly breathless headlines, is that if you are VERY rich, it's possible.

No, it isn't. Not really.  

Here's the article that got my attention:

The Science Behind Measuring (and Reversing) Your Body’s “Biological Age”
From simple fitness tests to deep looks into cellular DNA, longevity doctors and influencers are working on the body’s odometer.

From the article:

Moneyed bros, Silicon Valley CEOs, and even average Joes are all trying to look, feel, and be younger, to slow down the aging process in order to live healthier for longer. There are longevity clinics that charge patients $100,000 a year, cocktails of drugs that can “de-age” people, custom backyard “cold plunges,” and even a non-denominational church that worships the notion of perpetual life.

I will decline to comment on the "moneyed bro" who's been using his 17-old-son for blood transfusions, but you get the general drift.

This intense focus on trying to stop the aging process costs a lot of money. There are plenty of clinics, hucksters and no end of magical miracle cures that foolish folks will chase youth like Ponce de Leon. But de Leon's real story is more interesting.

De Leon likely didn't chase the mythical (but fake) fountain of youth. He had plenty of rivals to govern the new world Spain was appropriating. The story goes that his rivals made up the story as a way to discredit him with the Spanish crown. Those who perpetrated the myth knew it was silly, just as chasing a fountain of youth is silly centuries later.

We have always wanted to extend our lives. We have ways of doing that right now. However with a burgeoning population and a planet in terrible trouble, just how stupid is that? Just how idiotic is it to extend billions of lives while billions more are being born onto a planet which is in terrible trouble because of US?

That's an existential question for which I have a simple answer: let's die when it's time for us to leave already. The real journey here is to make that journey, the healthspan if you will, as rich and wonderful as possible. Why on earth extend a horribly unhealthy life?

Lots of people aren't happy with that answer. I guess a lot of folks want do-overs. If given more time, I seriously doubt most humans would bother to work harder at their health. It would be more party-hearty and shop-til-you-drop, which is how we got here in the first place.

Hilary in SoCal, kindly. Fires, well, everywhere. That's us, folks. I suspect that none of us will enjoy longevity as all this speeds up so I do wonder what's the point, right? Gotta ask.

While in many ways I welcome the research into the mysteries of our cells, DNA and the aging process, what amused me mightily about the above GQ article was how it ended.

After we learn all about the efforts of the rarefied rich to  prevent their demise- which in some cases would be welcome news, but that's just me- we are told the real secret. Rather than spend two million dollars a year and every single waking moment taking tests, being lasered, spending hours meditating, exercising, sucking the blood from our children and the like, here's what we peons and muggles can do:

The practical implications of this science for the average guy are not so extreme. Barzilai says there are simple steps that people can take right now to make a dent in their own biological age. It comes down to four elements: exercise, nutrition, sleep, and social connectivity. “If you target those four, he says, “then you can really make a major advance.”

Really now. What earth-shattering news, right?

I've been writing about this for years. No special sauce, no magic formula, no test to prove your biological age will do you anywhere near as much good as those four things. Yes, for too many the nutrition is a challenge, and for too many more having safe spaces to exercise is a challenge. Yet each of us can do a little bit more, a little bit better. You CAN, if you are determined.

With every incremental improvement we make in those four areas, our biological age, and the implied bragging rights therein, will improve.

Choose the apple. Take the walk. Talk to strangers. Make friends. Protect your sleep hygiene.

It doesn't take two million a year to reap the rewards. You can put your money in the bank to enjoy it during your better life. Well what of it a ravaged Earth and a very pissed-off Mother Nature will allow us, that is.

However if you just HAVE to have a magic pill, I have a handy-dandy supply right here in my basement, guaran-damn-TEED to take decades off your face and body.

"There's a sucker born every minute." *

And they'll all be buying cures for aging while scarfing MickeyDs, milkshakes, fries and Jim Beam.

Good luck with that.  

The Ringmaster
Photo by Mark Williams / Unsplash

*is a phrase closely associated with P. T. Barnum, an American showman of the mid-19th century, although there is no evidence that he actually said it. Early examples of its use are found among gamblers and confidence tricksters.

Dear Walkabout Saga Reader:

Thank you so much for taking a few minutes out of your life to read my work. WalkaboutSaga  is an act of love and devotion, and I hope that you found value in it.

If my work appeals to you, may I kindly invite you to consider joining those Patreon supporters whose generosity keeps the gas in my tank as it were.

Such articles take time, resources, research and effort. Even a small amount of support truly helps me keep this going. In challenging times, I recognize that even a small amount is hard. Those who can give, I appreciate it. Those who cannot, I hope my words are helpful.

My purpose is to Move People's Lives. I can do more of that with your help.

Thank you.

You can explore that option here.

However you decide to partake of my writing, again, thank you.