Living long enough to see July, 2076

© Don Hudson

I have a goal: to live to see the year 2076.

Why? Because I figure it’d be cool to see Philly in the midst of a tri-centennial celebration. I’d be no less than 91 years old, an age my great-grandfather Heber proved is in reach to us Hummels.

So I’m particularly interested in stories like NPR’s recent Secrets to Longevity. The story features the work of health scientists Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin, who tracked 1,500 bright individuals over the course of their lives to see the habits of those who lived the longest. Rather than focus on a hypothesis and predictions, their study is unique because it focuses on the individual’s actual behaviors over the long-term.

Some excerpts:

So, [Martin] concludes, “some degree of worrying actually is good.” And, in fact, adds Friedman, “the prudent, persistent, planful people — both in childhood … and then in young adulthood we measured that — that was the strongest individual difference, or personality predictor, of long life.”


Friedman and Martin also found that the conventional wisdom on fitness isn’t quite right. If we try too hard to push ourselves into exercise regimens, it can backfire. Physical activity is important, they found, but it’s more about doing what you love than adhering to a certain fitness program.

The site even has a self-evaluation questionnaire! What was your score?