Have you ever dreamed how wonderful it would be if you could live for a lot longer than people currently do? 200 years, maybe more? Popular science articles address that desire as have explorers looking for the fountain of youth. But think about the implications.
First a digression. We have all heard that people particularly enjoy passionate lovemaking after an argument as they make up. The threat of loss motivates a closeness that may not be felt at other times. The same applies in unstable relationships where there is a constant fear of abandonment.
What is this telling us? It would seem that the lesson is rather obvious. We cling to our object of affection when there is a threat that they may no longer be there. There is a more visceral appreciation for what we have.
Likewise, the fact that our days are numbered gives each one greater value. Certainly as we age, we realize that the clock is ticking. Hopefully, not too quickly, but it ticks nonetheless. So we respond to this threatened loss by clinging ever more tightly to our partners.
Ironically, two things may interfere with this appreciation. One is our disposable society that teaches us that precisely because our time is limited, we need to maximize our pleasure with the newest, greatest product. What if our current spouse isn't this? Another interference is ironically the midlife crisis. Realizing that our time is limited, we try to ensure our youth by pretending to ourselves that a younger partner will somehow turn back the clock.
We can surely make silly decisions along the way. Our emotions interfere with our logic and we justify our errors. So what would happen if we truly could live so much longer in a state of good health?
Without the same threat of loss, I would suggest that our appreciation for our partners would decrease. Our sense of urgency would plummet as we think, "What's the rush? I have so much time ahead. Who cares about today? Who cares about anything?" Perhaps people would be far more reckless as they sought to remove the certainty from their lives.
What are our take-home lessons?
- Appreciate what you have.
- Realize the value of each day.
- Make an effort everyday to make the life of those around you more precious.
- Cleave to your spouse and work together.