Viewpoints (Craig): How Long Do You Plan To Live?
My financial advisor's question changed my life forever.
"So ... how long do you plan to live," she asked. I must have looked as though she'd slapped me across the face. She scrambled to add, "I need to start with some number before I can do any calculations. Otherwise, it's pointless. You're 60 now. So what, 20, 30, 40 years?"
Too late. The question was now on the table. I wouldn't look at retiring the same way ever again. Of course, I had no idea how long I was going to live, but it became immediately clear that it was something worth thinking about.
True, I knew the question she was really getting at was: "Will I have enough money to avoid having to eat cat food before the clock runs out?" We all think about that question--will my savings cover the life I want to live? But there are other things gnawing at me even more than financial considerations:
- First off, how am I going to fill all that time? I spent years working in healthcare, and making a difference. I can't just grind to a halt now. Sure, I'm planning on having some fun, doing some travel, but I need to do something meaningful too. I need to matter.
- How will I maintain my physical health and my mobility for all that time?
- How will I keep my wits about me? Brain games don't seem to be the answer.
- How do I keep my independence? Who will help me when I need it?
- What about personal relationships? Emotional connections? Intimacy?
The list can go on, but what's clear is that the next 20, 30 or 40 years aren't simply about money.
And that's where the idea of Indigo came from. There must be thousands, millions of us facing the same challenge. All looking to make the most of the extra time we have been given. So at Indigo we're trying to make those extra years the best years of our lives, so far, by connecting retired people with meaningful work and other activities so that their minds will remain active and engaged, and their bodies will follow suit.
How long do you plan to live? My financial advisor's question was pretty bleak: she was talking about the state of being alive, of not being dead. But there's another more active meaning of "living"--the act of vigorously living a fulfilling life, of doing new things and making a difference.
In that active sense of the word, I plan to live forever. What about you?
Dr. Craig Keyes believes that a good life is the foundation of good health. He is a physician of Internal and Geriatric Medicine, has been a senior executive at several health companies, and is a co-founder of Indigo.