If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

I think this question is very easy. If I’m going to live to the age of 90, I definitely want the body of a 30-year-old. This is assuming, of course, that it’s a healthy 30-year-old. I don’t want to live to the age of 90 with the body of an arthritic 30-year-old, or a 30-year-old with multiple sclerosis. But a 30-year-old with no chronic health problems? Sign me up, I’m there.

Of course, having the body of a 30-year-old woman would mean I’d be menstruating until the age of 90, but I could always have my uterus removed surgically, so there you go, problem solved.

It’s true that an aging mind is no picnic. You forget stuff, and…you forget stuff, mostly. I just read a book about a woman with Alzheimer’s who’s suspected of murder. (Turn of Mind by Alice LaPlante. It’s good.) I think Alzheimer’s must be one of the worst things on earth, and of course you can get that long before you turn 90. But does Alzheimer’s count as a normal mind-aging thing? I think not. Even so, regular old getting-old-and-losing-your-memory is bad enough. I’ve known a few 90-year-olds in my day. They had varying degrees of mental functioning. My 90-year-old mind could end up like my grandmother, who hardly remembers who’s who from one minute to the next, or I could end up like my uncle, who’s still sharp as a tack. It’s a crapshoot, of course.

But if I had a 30-year-old body, I could still walk up and down stairs. I could still tap dance. I’d probably be able to tap dance better, since I’d have 30-year-old knees. I could still ride a bike. (Not that I ride a bike now, but I could, if I wanted to.) I’d still be able to see. I wouldn’t even have to wear glasses. I’d be safe to drive myself places. I’d still be able to hear. I could listen to music. I wouldn’t have to ask people to repeat themselves three or four times before I understood what they were saying. That means people wouldn’t shout at me and treat me like I was an idiot just because I couldn’t hear them (like they do now). I wouldn’t have to dye my hair. (I might, just to keep things interesting, but I wouldn’t have to, if I got sick of it, which I kind of am these days.) I wouldn’t have wrinkles (except for that line between my eyebrows that I’ve probably had since I was five). My breasts would stay perky indefinitely.

I think I would enjoy all of those things, even if I couldn’t remember who my kids were.

One does tend to get wiser as one gets older. I know I’m gambling with my 90-year-old mind, but I think it’s worth it, on the off chance that I get 90-year-old wisdom to go with my 30-year-old body. I mean, what’s my alternative? Thirty-year-old wisdom with a 90-year-old body? What fun is that?

Of course, I could always have an accident and lose the use of one or more of my 30-year-old limbs. Maybe then I would wish I’d opted for the 30-year-old mind. But there are risks any way you slice it. That’s why I’d just as soon live to be 90 with my 90-year-old body and 90-year-old mind to match, considering that this deal, knowing my luck, would probably turn out to be a Monkey’s Paw thing. I opt for the 30-year-old body and end up a paraplegic with dementia anyway. That’s what I get for trying to cheat Father Time. No, I’ll just stick with my own stupid destiny, whatever it is.

I only answered this question because I had nothing to else to write about.

Advertisements