When I am Eighty-Five
In the middle of 2050, I’ll be 85. The future may seem impossible, but it will come regardless of what you and I think. Our interactions with older family members have at least informed our visions of what it would be like to be 85 years old today. The aging process has a major impact on people at this age. Their minds often slow down, they falter. They are physically weak and in need of assistance. It’s not pleasant to imagine ourselves in that situation. For all its influence on our current thinking, four decades in the future could as well be the plot of a science-fiction novel, or a story told to children. It has no weight.
In my body, I will be 85 years old and have had hardly any senescent cellular activity for the past thirty years. I only bear a fraction of the inflammation burden that older generations of people have carried. I bought products from companies that descend from Oisin Biotechnologies, and Unity Biotechnology. Every few years, the accumulation of senescent cell was wiped out, with each new method being more effective. Eventually I chose a permanent gene therapy option, which was made possible by biochemical differentiation between short-term positive senescence (and long-term damaging senescence). Thereafter, there was no need for continuing treatments. Every cell has artificial DNA machinery that is a backup to the normal mechanisms for apoptosis triggered by lingering age.
The senolytic machinery in my cells will not be the only thing I have when I’m 85. Over the years, I had half a dozen gene therapy treatments. I picked the most useful of the many more that were available, starting once the price fell into the affordable-but-painful range, after the initial frenzy of high-cost treatments subsided into business as usual. My muscle maintenance and neurogenesis are operating at levels that were previously above the normal range of my age. And my mitochondria have been enhanced and protected against damage with additional copies mitochondrial genes stored elsewhere in my cell. These additions have been rendered obsolete by medical advances, but they still work.