One of our coffee guests this week is writing a book on the art and science of extending the healthy years of your life, or “true longevity.” We jumped all over this topic with a million questions, tangents, and anecdotes. Eking out a few more years of lifespans (sickspan?) with fancy drugs and surgeries is one thing but really giving yourself golden years full of life and vitality is an even better goal.

So what to do? Apparently, longevity is only about 25% genetics. The other 75% is all you, baby! Excluding the random meteor falling from the sky, your decisions and choices are what make the difference. According to the book The Longevity Project, “conscientiousness” is the most important character trait. You can see how this can translate into good habits- healthy eating, responsible driving, strong relationships, looking both ways before you cross the street- all kinds of things that can help keep you alive.

I’d venture to say that most of us would choose a longer, healthier life, but then what are the big picture consequences? Our chat quickly discovered all sorts of moral and environmental problems. Natural resource depletion, global population control, pollution, jobs for young people- all of these become even bigger issues if we all live to 100. And what of the potential economic disparity playing into lifespan? The Buck Institute out of Novato is at the forefront of the movement to increase “healthspan”, but often through expensive medical means.

How long will my health hold out? I’m still shooting for 100, preferably au natural. How about you?

Natasha Juliana
co-owner of WORK with husband Matt + lover of our planet + mother of an eight year old girl + caretaker of a dog, three chickens and a turtle + avid gardener, cook, host + wouldn’t want to live without yoga, chocolate, wine, sunshine.