Imagine living the best possible life and being completely satisfied with what has been completed. Now imagine that this life only spans half of a human’s average life expectancy. Some say this is an ideal life–live fast, die young. Others might oppose and would rather live a long, average life. Although most people do not get to choose what their life situation is, the question of quality or quantity remains.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an acclaimed bioethicist and oncologist, wrote an article in 2014 about why he would rather live a shorter, more fulfilling life than an extra long, average one. Some find his article ungrateful and psychotic, but others praise his work for shining a light on the concept. In Emanuel’s article, he writes, “Almost all people complete their most meaningful years before age 75, so living past that age is rarely as good as it may sound.” He also comments on how getting old is not fun in the slightest. Seeing oneself diminish mentally and physically is one of the most disheartening things in one’s life. “We are no longer remembered as vibrant and engaged but as feeble, ineffectual, even pathetic,” he says. Dr. Emanuel concludes the article by saying how he would rather celebrate life while he is young than grow old enough to forget his youth altogether.
ABC News published an article concerning life’s length. Author Mynra Toledo, writes about how living a long life and becoming old can be enjoyable. “We shouldn’t underestimate the abilities of older people because there aren’t too many things that they can’t learn, be it languages, music or computers,” says Toledo. “As we are able to live longer, the doors to all kinds of opportunities will be open to us.” She believes life is what you make it, and if you decide to live it to the fullest with the cards you are dealt, it does not matter if you are eighteen or eighty-eight.
When Sophomore Kaitlyn Loggans is asked about her opinion on the topic, she says, “Personally I would want to live a long time with an average life because you would be able to experience more and have a better overall life.” Loggans expresses her belief that growing old enables one to spend time with loved ones, accomplish goals, and try new things with time to spare. “Living a longer life allows you to make more memories,” she concludes. Throughout Kaitlyn’s interview, she makes it very apparent that her ideal life is a long one, through good times and bad.
Whatever one’s opinion, they should strive to live a satisfied and completed life. Whether the ideal life is living to twenty years old, only experiencing youth, energy, and blissful ignorance, or living to a hundred with copious amounts of wisdom and experience to spare, everyone has an opinion on the topic. Regardless of the length of life, most would agree that time is precious and every single moment, no matter how small and insignificant, should be savored.