A lot of people are living to be over 100 years old these days so I thought I’d take a look at what might have been happening around 1917 (100 years ago) – what conditions existed at the time of their births that might have contributed to their longevity? And what does it mean for people born after that time – will we also live to a ripe old age?
The first thing to note is that the world was at war – and it was a pretty devastating global conflict. Austerity measures were a lot more severe than those experienced today. Food, medicine and basic security was in short supply. Young men everywhere were dying in the millions. About 20 million people were killed and another 20 million wounded between 1914 and 1918. Being an orphan must have been common place – certainly single parent homes were the norm.
In addition to World War I, diseases such as the Spanish Flu resulted in between 50 million and 100 million additional deaths worldwide between 1918 and 1920. For those that lived to see the year 1930, there was the experience of the Great Depression that plunged the world further into poverty. If war, disease, poverty and other deprivations didn’t kill the person, then by the time they reached early adulthood, say about 1940, the world was once again engulfed in a global war. Between 1939 and 1945, some 80 million people were killed and about the same number wounded.
It’s clear that any non-rich person born around 1915 who lived to see 1950 would have been incredibly strong, resilient, resistant to disease, and very, very lucky. Adding to their inherent biological strengths, there was far less pollution in this time frame – not a lot of cars, planes and smoke stacks. People worked outdoors mostly and ACTUALLY did physical labor. Sugar was in short supply and there were no GMOs (yes globalists, GMOs are bad for you).
There was no TV, no cell phones, no personal computers, and people interacted with others more directly. Being self-sufficient and energetic were positive traits – no “snowflakes” in these years, at least none anyone took seriously. People got up, went to work wherever they could, fought for what they wanted and didn’t expect a free lunch from the government. Hence, they lived a long time and most often remained productive into their 90’s.
What about people born after 1950? Will we be so lucky? Will we live to 100?
Based on current events and news reports, it seems the general population today is pretty weak and insecure compared to previous generations. Indolence and whining are common place with the youth, especially in the western world. I don’t have a lot of faith in the core strength of my generation and none in the so-called “millennials.” Unless there is some medical or technological breakthrough – a breakthrough that is accessible to the middle class – I don’t see the common person living a long and healthy life. But if we can learn something from the past and emulate at least the attitudes of our grandparents, we might see some improvement. Nothing really stops us from living to be 100 except for the weakness of our own feeble will.