My paternal grandparents lived into their nineties. They were old for at least half their lives. That's how they saw themselves. They didn't consider Old a pejorative.
Gertrude and Louis were vain, quick witted, and irreverent. They dressed well and looked good in clothes. They ate like everyone else and avoided exertion.
My Mommu and Poppu weren't bothered by the way I eat, because it didn't mean anything to them. The way I exercise, at my age, would have been alien. As if I bragged about being more popular on Twitch than Rubius.
That's how I've always felt about longevity. Life extension. Making it a goal to live until there's a cure for the thing that would kill you (cancer, heart disease, car crashes, etc). Surviving until the next cure comes along, and the next. Decades beyond our current limits.
It all felt alien until it didn't. Like a new mourner beguiled by a medium, I was primed for this kind of thinking. As I wrote in December, Beth's injuries have me fixated on my health.
I know Bloomberg's Bryan Johnson feature portrays him as a modern day Hunger Artist. I also recognize myself in his routine. I'm a longtime vegan, runner, and weight lifter. I'm into time-restricted feeding and avoid carbs before dinner. I use a few supplements.
I shared the article with a friend who pointed me to Lifespan by David Sinclair. It's a bestseller and Sinclair is a celebrity. I'm not sure how I'd missed it. I listened to the podcast, then the audiobook.
I’m the opposite of a biologist. I have a haziness around anatomy and pharmacology, a cognitive quicksand. If I could name the condition for you, I wouldn't have it. I'm not qualified to assess Sinclair's assertions.
Coincidentally, Eric Trexler published an article about longevity while I was reading Lifespan. Trexler is my primary guide to health and fitness, and he is not a fan. The problem for many of us is distinguishing between two scientists who have a lot in common. As with so many arguments, it can feel like the guy on the bridge joke. Trexler seems right. I'm not sure that makes Sinclair wrong.
There may be more than wishful thinking behind SENS and the Clock Foundation. Investor Laura Deming appears to be a genius, and her Longevity FAQ is compelling. Sinclair and his collaborators have bona fides.
For me, the appeal isn't living forever. I'm not ready to believe that we can reverse aging, even if Beth has done it each week of her rehabilitation. (I realize it’s temporary.)
I feel a sense of enchantment when the spirits whisper Prolonged Vitality. As embarrassing as it is to talk about this stuff, I want to see what I can do with diet, supplements, and exertion.
Mommu and Poppu would be nonplussed. At least Kafka would think I was hilarious.
Welcome to February 2023’s Disappearing Moment, an inventory of my experiences. I hope you enjoy it.
Lifespan (I Liked It): The companion podcast to the book. Sinclair and his co-author have good rapport.
Microsoft Excel. The desktop version. I'm less useful without it. (The rest of the Office suite is flaming viscera.)
The Coros Pace2 watch doesn't distract me, tracks what I want, and holds a charge for weeks. It's also light and comfortable.
Personal Finance and Investing
Does your broker or advisor make it easy for you to benchmark their cost and performance? If not, get a new advisor.
- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, What I Think About LeBron Breaking My NBA Scoring Record (I Liked It): "I fret much more over picking the right word in this sentence than in my record being broken," wrote... Kareem Abdul-Jabbar... in his Substack?!
- Charles Brenner, A Science-based Review of the World’s Best-selling Book on Aging (I Liked It): Cogent and sensible critique of Lifespan. His companion articles, Longevity Lessons and Sirtuins Are Not Conserved Longevity Genes, are over my head.
- Jonathan Lethem, The Ecstasy of Influence (I Liked it): Some of these issues didn't start with ChatGPT.
- Patricia Lockwood, No One Is Talking About This (2021) (I Liked It): Glistening, squicky, commendable, and set in Cincinnati. Cf., The Meaning in Dry Cleaning
- Jessica Nabongo, The Catch Me If You Can (2022) (I Liked It): Instagram influencer Jessica Nabongo is the first black woman to visit every country. She makes everything seem possible, and our assumptions seem parochial.
- David Sinclair, Lifespan ( 2019) (I Liked It): If we don't go extinct, our lives will grow longer and healthier. I have no idea if Sinclair has the details right, wrong, or early.
The First 12 Albums (of 129)
- Horace Andy, Dance Hall Style (1983): The wonder of streaming. I can't believe this dance hall and proto-Hip Hop album is a few clicks away.
- Kate Bush, Hounds of Love (1986): Like Casablanca, I knew it as influence and allusion before experiencing the complete work. E.g., Outkast, Car Seat Headrest, Prince, Björk.
- Daft Punk, Random Access Memories (2013): Robots, sure, and French, why not? Their final studio record is tender, sentimental. Like they’ve adapted their film scores for the stage.
- Nick Drake, Pink Moon (1972): His resonance and phrasing recall Nina Simone. His songs anticipate my 90's favorites.
- Ryo Fukui, Scenery (1976): Learning piano is one of my unrealized resolutions. Fukui’s generous virtuosity, like Monk and Tatum, makes me want to keep trying.
- Gossip, Standing in the Way of Control (2006): My gym soundtrack for February. At their height, they were as formidable as anyone.
- Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998): My Bluetooth speaker bounces when it plays this record and no others. Of course, right? I’m grateful that now I know the whole album.
- Hum, Downward is Heavenward (1998): An indie rock legend… released by a Top 40 band on a major label. The Brettnic Ideal of an under-appreciated album. Made by a music obsessive for kindred souls.
- Seu Jorge, The Life Aquatic (2005): Expecting pop artists to write their own song is a blip — codified in my lifetime. Who does it benefit? Not Jorge, Bowie, or us.
- K. Sridhar & K. Shivakumar, Shringar (1989): Ethereal, kinetic, intentional. For me, it's flow music.
- The Who, Quadrophenia (1973): I'm grateful that now I know the whole album. It works even better than I expected.
- The Wrens, Meadowlands (2003): A cultural moment and monument: nous sommes New Jersey. This was fourth or fifth on my list, along with Misery and Women (1993).
Thanks for spending a few moments with me. I look forward to corresponding again next month.