JESSE’S OFFICE (Ep#6) “The Future of Aging” with PAUL IRVING from the Milken Institute

JESSE’S OFFICE (Ep#6) “The Future of Aging” with PAUL IRVING from the Milken Institute

Hi, I’m Jesse Dylan. This
is my cohost Priscilla. Hi. Today I, Jesse and I are going to be talking
with the aging expert from the Milken Institute, Paul Irving. We’re going to talk about
who gets to live longer, about a world where the average
age is getting a lot older. We’re also going to talk about
the battle to overcome ageism. And the upside of aging. Talk to me
about it after as well, but first, subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch
this and more episodes or subscribe to Jesse’s Office, wherever
you stream your podcasts. Please feel free to leave
comments and reviews. He’ll try to respond whenever he can. [inaudible] How’s it going? Happy to see you Paul.
I’m good. How are you doing? Good. Thank you for doing this. [inaudible] Can I just ask? Sure. Why you put
the yellow sugar? The fake sugar? We’re going to be talking about living
forever and like that is just poison. It’s, it’s, it’s poison, but the other
stuff is poison too. So if, if you have, if you have ah, the only three
parents, the only three grandparents, you know, anything about
who had type two diabetes, if you have two parents who have type
two diabetes. If you have, if you’re, if you’re thin and you still have
borderline high. Yeah sugar. Sugar, H1s and H1C. You’ve, you at least don’t, ah you, you, you yeah, gotta
pick your poison. Right? So the answer is it’s
probably less poisonous for
me than, than the other stuff. So you’re giving us a little insight into
you, right? Cause that are you saying? We’re not going to talk about
my sugar. Yeah. Oh my goodness. We don’t want to talk about
that. Uh, but yeah, I mean, um, yeah, I’m, I’m definitely not
a nutty eater, in fact, to the, to the contrary. But I guess my point is, is if I can have a choice between having
a chocolate chip cookie this week or having phony sugar in my coffee,
I’ll take phony sugar in my coffee. So Japan, like you see the population of Japan is
decreasing and one of the problems that we don’t, you know, it’s
come up at Milken before, is this problem of depopulation. Is that necessarily a bad thing? And,
in a potentially an overpopulated world? I mean, I guess the, the question, there’s no question of the composition
of populations is gonna change dramatically. I always, I always say to
say where the world is going to look, look much older. Right. By the
way, by the end of this century, the whole world will look, will look
older, but between now and mid-century, virtually every place that most of us
traveled to other than Subsaharan Africa and a little pocket in India,
will, will look much older. So, so, yes, maybe you, you remember
the population bomb? Yeah. So may, so the answer is, is a smaller
population may be in our future with, with not only, not only increasing
longevity but low, very low birth rates. Why, why? Well that’s because
education and well they have education, empowerment. No, no. Why low birth
rates, why low birth rates? Why? Why low birth rates? Yeah,
why? Like, I mean, why? I have a theory, I have a
theory, but, but so there, there’s lots of speculation about it. My, my theory is the single most
important, there are lots of them. So obviously much slower child,
ah, child mortality rates, ah, much larger urban populations,
not rural populations. So, so people in rural areas tended to have
lots of kids to service the farm and things like that. My own, my own guess is that it’s significantly
related to the advancement of women across, across the world
because, um, women are smart. Women don’t want to be tied down to, to, to a dozen kids. They recognize the,
the, they recognize, the reality, which is still in many ways the
sad reality that they tend to be disproportionately burdened
with child, childbearing and it, and it impedes career advancement.
Right? In fact, in fact, almost paradoxically, uh, things
are now happening kind of on the, on the other end. So, so having kids in addition to
lots of bad cultural norms, uh, impeded the progression of women for,
for obviously for, for decades, for most, of most of history. But, but
now what we find is caregivers, caregiving does the same kind of thing. So the estimates are more than two
thirds of caregivers are, are women. So there’s nothing worse. You know, I
think about my old profession where, you know, I’ve worked in a progressive
law firm, but the reality is, is that while we try to figure out ways
people could go on and off track and all the rest, and I have kids in
the, it’s incredibly difficult, difficult. And, and
the bottom line is, is, is it affects advancement. Look,
China’s the perfect example. China’s reversed the one child policy
and, and it hasn’t had much effect, yet. Right. I think the
reasons are pretty simple. They change culture. And if you’re
a young couple in, in, in China, first of all, there’s also a shortage
of, uh, women. Right. Interestingly, but, but, but, um, if you’re
a young couple in China
and your, your decision is, should I buy a condo in Shanghai
and, or should I have another kid? And by the way, and should I
give my one kid violin lessons, college prep, you know, etc, etc, etc. The, the decision’s kind of what, we, we, we don’t either incent
or reward or support, uh, childbirth or child rearing in
this, in this country. And, and in, and frankly, although the US is
kind of well behind on this front, in much of the world. You know, there’s these communities
around the world where people are aging, getting very, very old, you know,
and we don’t necessarily know why. You mean the blue, the blue zones,
the Dan, Dan Buettner stuff? Explain what it is for people who
don’t know what the blue zone is. Cause some people don’t know. So
blue zones are places that, that, are we being, are we taping? Oh gosh,
we’ve been taping for hours. So, don’t worry about it. Okay. Blue zones,
blue zones. This is like , ha ha. Well, don’t think about it. You know,
don’t think about it. Come on. No, no, no, no. Uh, so, um, yeah, so Dan, Dan did a piece for National
Geographic years, years ago. Dan Buettner, who’s, who’s the,
who’s the, who coined blue zones. Um, so what he did is he traveled
around and he identified these, these small places in the world
where for some reason people live extraordinarily long lives relative
to the rest of the population. And they include places
like Okinawa and Sardinia. And there is actually one blue
zone in the United States, which, which is Loma Linda, California, which,
which is a whole different explanation. It out out east of out east of us. Kind
of really, really interesting place. Um, so, so, you know, he’s kind
of tried to figure out, you know, what are these, what are these places
have in common and they’re not identical, not identical, but look,
heavily plant based diets. Uh, very strong family,
family units that, you know, families live together,
they work together, they operate together and engage
together. Physical work, right? Going up in the hills with the sheep,
come again from the hills with the sheep. Right. A strong sense of, of, of
community, sense, sense of purpose, me, meaning. Obviously respect
for elders. We, we, we live in a society that,
that demeans in many, many ways old people.
That’s, that’s ageist. These are societies in
which older people are, are venerated or are still
considered wise, wise elders. In the case of Loma Linda, it’s, it’s a really interesting place because
it’s principally a Seventh Day Adventist community. So, so what as Loma Linda have? Loma Linda has big families,
low divorce rates, ah, principally plant based diet. No
booze, no, no coffee. By the way, a very good health system, you know,
Loma Linda University and the ho, hospital out there is,
is a very good hospital. So they have this kind of
interesting mix. So the, I think the thing that’s interesting
about blue zones, cause when I move, you know, I’m not moving to
Okinawa and nor are you, uh, is, is what are the things that we can
drive from these places. Right yeah. And somehow apply in our lives.
Yeah. Our lives. And by the way, most of it’s intuitive. That’s, that’s
the interesting thing about healthy, healthy aging, healthy longevity. We kind
of know what the right thing is to do. Yeah. It’s behavioral economics, right?
It’s so, so the question is how do we. How do we do it? How do we do it?
How do we incent it? How do we, how do we make it appealing? How
do we make it a cultural norm? When you start to think about, you
know, aging, it’s like, you know, it’s not just surviving until the end of
life. It’s like leading your best life. So how do you, how do you think about that? I say
to my economist friends, so, so, uh, if, uh, if anybody took, you know, a macro in my, in mi,
micro, you know, let me, let me the following question: If there, if there is less of a commodity,
of a desirable commodity, what happens to its value? It becomes
more valuable. Yeah. Yeah. Okay, good. How come you got the answer and I didn’t.
I had to think about it. It becomes, it becomes, becomes more, more,
more valuable. So, so why, why does that kind of obvious rule
of, of nature in many respects, may, certainly a little, a little of economics, fail when it comes to the single most
valuable thing that we have in our lives, which is time. Right. Right. So why
does time become less valuable as, as we get older? It’s a paradox.
Right. Um, and I, I think some, again, some of that it relates to
cultural norms and expectations, Some of it certainly relates to physical
decline and, and, and the, the risks, although, you know, ah, a third, roughly a third of people over 85
have Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Right. That
means two thirds don’t. We talk a lot about the one third that
do and we should. It’s, you know, it’s, it’s tragic. It’s something that needs
a lot of attention, a lot of money, a lot of research, medical research
and, and, and intervention. But that means two thirds
don’t. So, you know, we have this thing that says that that a, that as we get older, our lives
become less valuable. I some, I sometimes think of it that this,
it should be like a marathon, right? Life is in many ways like, like
a marathon. So what happens if, if you’re a distance
runner? You know, you, you hit a wall at 17 18, 19
miles. Always 21 miles for me. So you’ve done it Twice. So you’ll know
exactly what I’m talking about. Yeah. You fight through the wall, you fight
through the wall. Yeah. Cause you know, you know, God damn it, you’re
going to finish the. You gotta go. You’re going to finish this, this thing
you’ve gotten, you’ve gotten that far. And then what happens toward the end of
a race? What happens typically at the, at the end, not only of a marathon, but at the end of let’s say 10,000 meters
or something like that for, for an, for an elite runner, what is an
elite runner do at the end of a race? They push through and then they collapse.
What’s it called? Kick. I don’t know. Kick. Are you a runner? The kick.
The kick. Right. Bad. Yeah. Um, so, so, so at the end of a race, at the
end of a race, you don’t slow down. You speed up. The kick,
yeah, yeah. Uh, so, so, so my notion is, is how do you think about life
course in a way that values that, that as time becomes less, it becomes
more valuable, more meaningful, more important that we don’t
slow down, we actually speed up. We speed up in different
ways. Right? We’re not gonna, we’re not gonna physically
speed up. They’re things,
there are things, you know, where, where we can’t be naive
about the realities of aging, but there are things that
we can we can certainly do. Did you have a mentor or
somebody when you were younger, much younger where you looked up to that, that sort of puts you on this path or
you saw things that that had meaning for you? No, I mean other
than than parents. Um, I mean I was always, I think lucky and,
and in business, in business, you know, uh, I think for all of us mentors,
mentors are, are important. You know, you and I went, went to
the same school, my friend, I don’t know if you remember.
Wait a minute, are you guys, wait. We’re both both NYU film school alumns.
Right. Oh he’s a. So, so, so. Right. I didn’t stay very long. He dropped
out, he’s a drop out. I, I, I stayed. You went ot film school too?
Yeah. I stayed, I stayed and grad, and I graduated and I remember, you
know, Haig Manoogian. Was. Sure. Was Haig, was Haig the dean when you
were there? Yeah, yeah. You know, when my life was kind of a mess and I
was flat broke and living in a, you know, in a cockroach infested, you know, walk-up with no dough
and trying to figure out, you know how I was going to
survive. I, you know, so, you know, older adults have been helpful to me
in various ways throughout my life. How did you get from film school to
what you do now? Oh it’s. You know, the center for aging, you know, it’s
like, doesn’t seem like a direct line? I. Well. I worked, you know, it’s,
it’s, I, I, I’m the quint, the quintessential example of failing
up. You know, I worked in the, I worked in the movie business
for a couple of years. I worked in TV for a short period
of time. What? Wait, wait, wait. I worked in the movie business for. What
we’re you doing, as producer or writer? No, I, I work, I, I. Actor? It was, it was funny in my film school class, uh, which was in a tough time in New York
City, tough time in the business. And of course you remember
we used to demean. Sure. Now, I spend a lot of time on the USC
campus and I know what a really, a really good film school it is. Yeah.
And an amazing facility and all the rest, but we used to demean those, you know like commercial guys
out on the West Coast. So all my, all my friends who graduated
with me were starving. Right. Um, you know, they, they were doing,
they were doing industrials. They were doing like little
failing documentaries. Sure. They were doing in those
days, porno flicks, you know, because people were failing, you know,
whatever. Whenever they could do. Absolutely. Whatever they could do to
maintain, to make it, make a living. I got a job at ABC TV doing,
doing promotion. Right. You know, and then I, then I went to work at United Artists
for a few years and then, and then, uh, I just Then, then I went to law school
and that was kind of the end of that. Ok that’s unusual. And
then I ended up running a, a law firm with a big
entertainment practice, so. Yeah. Yeah. But that’s what I did most of my
life. But ah, I want to go back to the, you said, you know, first of all, how
do we get into the ageism culture? Why, why do you think in this country,
particularly there is not, uh, a regard? Is that a Hollywood problem? You know,
we, we focus on youth and and beauty. It sure is. Like are we part of the
problem. Yeah. Or are people in Hollywood. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Where does, where
does that come from? It’s, well, it comes from a lot from a lot of
things. It comes from just this, this general notion that that retirement
and disengagement and decline are just an inevitable part of,
of getting old. Right. Getting old means is disease
diminishment. You are less, uh, it relates to very much to
physicality by the, by the way, I think, I think it, it, it, it’s particularly
a tragedy for, for women, right? I mean, you know, I’m, I’m
like the anti-hair, hair dye guy, the, uh, the, the stop
cosmetic surgery per, person. But, but, so I think, I think,
you know, uh, I’m a little. You know as I often say it, I don’t know
Jesse, whether you feel the same way? So, so even me, who so believes in the va, in the value of, of older adults and
the fact that we have to get by these, these, these biases, the reality is, is I look in the mirror and I look at my
bald head or I look at, you know, this, I’m older than you. We’re looking at
a thing that’s flapping. Right. Um, and, and, and, and I, and I have to, I have to fight my own. Right. Bias bias about it. So, so, um, one of, one of the people on my academic
and policy advisory board who’s, who just does the world’s most
remarkable rese, research and she’s, she’s terrible at promoting her own
her own stuff, but, but she just, she just does brilliantly important work.
This woman, named Becca Levy at Yale, who has done this, this, this really interesting research on
the connection between principally, self image and self image and kind of
the, the impact of cultural norms on, on health. Yeah. And she’s the one, I don’t you know you may have read
this in something, something I wrote. So she’s the one who, who said that that for people who have
positive feelings about this. Man, manifested in ways that she
obviously describes in her research, but having a fundamentally positive
view of aging versus this fundamentally negative, depressed, down,
diminished view of aging, in her study live on average
7.5 years longer. Wow. A more significant variable than body
mass index, smoking, or exercise. So, so. Feeling positive about yourself.
So feeling, being able. So, so. Being able to look in the mirror and
say, yeah, like I’m really enjoying or. I’m okay. I feel a sense of purpose. I
feel, yeah. I feel a sense of meaning, meaning in my life. There’s a woman named Patricia Boyle
at Rush Medical Center in Chicago who’s done really interesting work on, on
again, this connection between purpose, purpose and, and health. Yeah. And what she’s found is impacts on
cardiovascular disease, pulmonary dis, disease, dementia, dementia,
deferral of Alzheim, of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Not, not disease cured, but deferral of symptoms. This is
incredibly powerful stuff. Yeah. Um, another person on my, on my, um, academic
board is a woman named, Linda Fried, is the dean of the, you may have heard
of her. She’s the dean of the, um, school of Public Health at Columbia, the Mailman School of public health and
she’s a geriatrician. And, and she said, you know, years ago when she was
actually doing clinical work, she would, she would say to people during the
course of their, you know, annual check, checkups, uh, not just,
you know, how’s your, how’s your sugar and let’s take
blood and urine and, and poke around, uh, are you volunteering? Do you feel
a sense of, of that your life is, is important? Are you, wor, are you
working? These are things that directly, and directly to your health. And again,
intuitive I think in many ways, right? Although not. Many of us are afraid. I’m afraid of the notion of spending the
last 10 or 15 years of my life playing shuffleboard. Right, me too. That’s
terrifying. But you would never do that. I mean, the thing is, is that you, you
have a sense of purpose. Question is, how do you impart that to somebody
where you’d say you wanna. It’s, it’s, it’s very hard. And obviously it’s
dramatically affected by education levels. Right. Wealth levels, access,
information. Yeah. I mean, when we talk about aging, you know, are
we just talking about wealthy people? Yeah. Well that’s so, I’m so glad
you asked that because, because the, so the, the, the bias, the expectation out there when people
talk about longevity is lives have gotten longer. The truth of the matter is,
they haven’t gotten longer for, for, for many, for many people. And that’s
why, that’s why averages, you know, lies damned lies, and statistics, right? Averages are really
completely misleading. Right. For those of us who were lucky enough
to have been born right and educated right, and, and who live, you know,
the right kinds of lifestyles and. And have access to the.
Access, access to good health, the prospects for living, you know,
these days into our nineties is, is pretty high. And the prospects for
kids living to a hundred is pretty good. Uh, but for a significant portion of the
population lives haven’t gotten longer at all. And in fact, we know in the,
in the US in the last three years, average longevity has
actually gone down. Yup. Why? A result of opioid abuse
and gun violence and, and suicide and, and his, historically high levels of obesity and
terrible nutrition and bad access to, to health. You know, I sometimes
tend to say, you know, the, what we hear all the time. You, you guys
have heard many times. I know Jesse, you know, cause cause your interest in,
in medical research and all the rest. We have the best bio-science
in, in the world. We have the uh, the best
academic, which we do, the best academic institutions in the
world. Extraordinary knowledge about bi, bi, biology, uh, the finest doctors in the world
and yet our, our outcomes. You hear this all the time. Our
outcomes are terrible relative to our, to our peer countries. Again, this is the problem with averages.
So the outcome for the three of us, the outcomes for the three
of us are probably just
about as good as the outcomes for our counterparts in Norway.
Sure. Or a lot of other really, really fabulous places across. If we were, if we were doing this today in Compton, the outcomes are about as
good as, as, as, uh, some, some countries in poor, very poor
countries in West Africa. Right. So, so, um, so, so the real challenge whether, whether it’s question of purpose or
a question of health or question of opportunity for work and all the rest
is democratization. And, and that’s, you know, this is to me a
question of core values. This is why I fight with my
colleagues about our nonpartisan, um, stance. Because I think we’re at a time in history
where we got to kind of stand up and, and, um, and, and, you know, talk
about core, what do we believe? Yes. Do we believe that health is, health is
a right? Is it? Yes, absolutely. Right. Education is right? Do we believe
that, that these opportunities, uh, I wrote a piece which you guys might be
interested in reading on longevity and inequality. And I said, I
thought it was, was the, the, the greatest in, injustice. We
talk a lot about income inequality. That’s one component of longevity and
inequality. Sure. Yeah. But what’s, what’s more tragic than,
than people in one, in one zip code in one part of town, uh, living 10 to 20 years longer than another
person being able to spend time with their kids and in work. So that’s one side. You know,
the fundamental human right, of people who are aging to just
to even to age, right? Yeah. The other part of it is, I mean, the
other thing to consider is just the, you know, what do you make of the Silicon Valley
ideology where we’re going to live forever? You know, that, that we’re,
we’re here, we’re going to live forever. Yeah, right. If we just get
the science right, it’s, everything’s going to be great. You
know. It’s lovely. You know, yeah, I. I mean, the Aubrey de Grey. If we
could just. Whether, whether, right. If we could just figure it out. Our kids, are gonna live to 200.
Yeah. Uh, yeah. I, I’m. You know, over the longterm science
does a lot of amazing things and, and disruption happens and things don’t
move in a linear way. Right. Look, I sat at a meeting a couple of
years ago in which there was, I won’t name the company, but
there was somebody from, you know, PhD from Stanford, really
smart who, who was, who was sitting in a room
with a bunch of other people. And we were all talking about the
challenges of aging and longevity and messaging and ageism and uh, and, and questions of justice and all the rest. And he basically said after a fair amount
of warmup that we were looking at all this with such a 20th century,
you know, 20th century frame. And that ultimately that they would be
able to code what we might think of as the soul. Right. And that therefore
all, you know, our bod, bodies, replaceable parts, all that stuff is
just kind of transitory. So, you know, all the cool kind of bioengineering,
that’ll go by the wayside. And uh, we don’t, we won’t need
to have, have children anymore, but to the extent we do,
you know, you’ll be able to, you’ll maybe you’ll be in a hologram or
you’ll be on a screen communicating with your great, great, great. Okay that. It’s like all the, it’s like all the
people who want to go to Mars. It’s like, let them go. Right. Let them go, so so. So my attitude about all this
is, is, is great, you know, but, uh, I’d, what I’d like
to do with that person is, is drive them down to Skid Row in LA and
say, what are you going to do tonight? You know? Uh, and, and,
and when it comes to, to, to older adults, add this notion of, of, of not only how to create, better, better, longer lives for this generation or
the next generation. I say, great. If you can solve it all. Mazel
tov, sei gesund. Yeah, yeah. Go with God. Do whatever. Do what,
do whatever you can. In the meantime, we actually have work to do. So how
do you see your role today? Like how, how do you see what you’re doing?
I don’t know. Ha. ha. Okay, I have another question.
I don’t know. You know, look, you know, we’re,
we’re, first of all, remember the Milken Institute is one
of a portfolio of things I do. Sure. So I do different things in different
places. At the Milken Institute, what we, what we basically do is three things.
We do applied research, we convene, we do communications, we don’t
do communications is well, as well as you do at
Wondros. But we try. Um, so. I’ve always thought that that
convening part is really special and. The convening part is powerful because
we, we connect, uh, business leaders. Yeah. And investors with, with
academics and policy leaders and, and others. We bring people
together across the wealth spectrum, across, across gender, across race,
uh, very much across, across country. And they, and they learn
from each other. Right now I, I’m actually planning a big, a big, a series of sessions in Singapore.
Right. Next year, where, where age, aging is just the hottest topic in
the world in Asia. In a positive way? Are they feeling, because they’re.
So policy, very much policy leaders, policy leadership is thinking
about changing, changing
retirement expectations. Although they have very different
cultural ideas there. You know, I wish that was as true as I
think it used to be. I said, I often say that the, I
gotta be careful here, but I often say that the worst things
that we’ve exported from the United States. Are? To the East are a brand
of fried chicken and Ha! Well. And, uh, I hope it’s not a client of yours
and, uh, and our attitudes about, about aging and old and older
adults. So it’s not as much. I, I understand that there is this
traditional notion of respect of elders, veneration, of, of, of, of
age, wisdom, ex, experience. It’s still, I think, more true
there than it is in, in the, in the US and probably more
true there than it is in Europe, but not as true there as
it was traditionally. Do
you, do you feel like it’s, it’s changing? I mean, you feel
like we’re, we’re, you know, starting to respect people more? I, No. But no, I mean I’m just. Yeah. I just am,
I may, I, I, I’m a hard grader. Uh, I, I’ve, I feel like, I feel
like the good news is, is we’re much more in conversation
than we ever were before. Right. So I, I think that these issues are, are,
are being elevated in ways that, that I frankly couldn’t have
imagined even several years ago. If I just relate it to my, to my
own experience, the exposures, the questions I get from places that I
never would’ve gotten questions a few a few years ago. But, but, um. Is it a lack of respect or is it a lack
of understanding? You know, like how. What do you mean? I’m not, are those, I’m not sure that those two things are
necessarily different Jesse. Well, okay. You know, I guess what I’m
saying is, is that, you know, is when you’re meeting people, do they,
do they understand what the goal is? Do they understand what a better life
for all means? More profit for everybody, more better for everybody? Or is it like, I just don’t like people and it
doesn’t matter. I think it’s. I, actually, people do like
old, old people. And so, so the answer is we all like
our, our grandparents. Right? If our grandparents are
around. Um, it just, it just that we, we tend to like old people or we tend
to view old people in one of two ways. By the way, maybe a preliminary
question is what is old? Right. Yes, what is old? Uh, A, A, AARP
membership is, is50 plus. Yeah. And when we have more 70
year olds. So you’re old. And we have. I understand,
but here’s the thing, the challenge of that is that people
do not self-identify with AARP at a 50 plus. Exactly right, that’s right. So
they don’t want to accept the cards. So, there was a con, there was a conference in LA last week
that I spoke at called, called uh, called YBL Your Best Life put on
by Sinclair, the, the ageist. Sure. Do you know about it? I do, a little.
So it’s interesting cause I’m often, so I’m 67, I’m, I’m, I’m sometimes when I go to speak at which
I do try just to try to stay connected to go to speak at, at a nursing home. I’m, I’m sometimes the youngest
person in the room. I may have been the oldest person
in the room at this conference. It was filled with, with hipsters and like cool looking people
with tattoos and all the rest. Yeah. And probably a lot of them were 50, or
your vintage, probably early fifties. Yeah. Uh, and um, and, and the whole discussion was about,
was about markets and culture. Right. And it was, it was great and
energizing and exciting. So, so look, older adults in
whatever way you define it are, are as diverse. I actually think more diverse than any
other part of the part of the population. So the notion of, you know, how do you treat an old person or how
should you think about an old person is just as absurd as saying, how should
you think about a man or a woman or, or, or somebody who’s Latino
or Black. It’s just crazy. When you go to the retirement home, is the experience for you different than
when you’re going to that conference and speakindg? Sure it is. Um, so, so
people have different, have different attitudes about
that, about their own aging, and they’re struggling with
different things. Right. The, the fifties something might be struggling
with this question of my changing looks, uh, am I on the decline? Because if you think of traditional
notions of, of life course, the traditional notion of a life
course was, you know, child, fun in childhood education, coupling, children peaking something, you know, sometime right around Jesse’s age. Yeah. And then starting to this long inexorable
decline to death, right. That was, that was kind of the traditional
view of, of, of, of life. And now there’s recognition that life
is for those of us who are lucky enough, again, life is lifelong learning.
It’s spurts, spurts of learning, it’s spurts of relationships, it’s
spurts of. Jobs. Types of jobs. Yeah. Of different work that, that
occur throughout life. Yeah. Many of those older people haven’t
experienced that. They still, they still kind of have it. They have
this sense that they’re, that they’re. Of decline, the decline. That they’re
on, on the decline. And some of them, some of them are, again, we can’t
ignore the realities of, of infirmity. Um, and that’s again, why I th, I think we can’t look at old
as some kind of, you know, homogeneous mass. It just,
it just, it just is, isn’t, but I think the good news is, is that, is that the next generation
of old are beginning to, to fight the man. You know, they’re be,
they’re beginning to say, wait a minute. I don’t buy into this notion
that, that my next step is to, is to move to some gated community in
Florida, which is age segregated. Sure. Uh, and spending my time doing
nothing but hanging out by the, by the pool and going to my doctor and
going to, to an early dinner at, uh, or hanging out at the rec center, waiting,
waiting to die. My, my next stage is, is ah, volunteerism, ongoing engagement. Maybe it’s running for
president who knows what, they. We have a lot of people in their,
right, seventies. You know, you know, do we need to perhaps say a, ah, colleges need to, to have.
Totally. Higher adult education. So I’m glad, I’m glad you raised,
you raised it. So, so, um, the, the, the design of American
colleges very much by the way, driven by models of places like
Harvard that opened its doors in 1636, um, uh, catered, very understandably to, to a young audience initially by the
way, a young male audience, right? A young, young. Right. White
male audience. So, so, so, um, so thankfully there had been battles
to, to open the doors of education for, for women. Thankfully
battles, although by the way, we’re nowhere near where we need to
be, but battles to open the doors for, for people of color. Uh, and the reality is we need
the same battles to ensure
that people have access to education throughout, throughout life. So we had these little continuing
education programs, you know, glommed onto the side of, of, of
universities that, they again, typically are age segregated.
But why shouldn’t a, why, why shouldn’t somebody, you know, if Jesse Dylan decided tomorrow that
as much as he loves his business at, at Wondros, he’s decided he wants to
become a scholar in Italian literature, I’m making it up. Sure. Why shouldn’t he be able to go
to go apply for a PhD program? Uh, and by the way, fight
for, you know, get out, fight for tenure and probably have more
years of scholarship than his young counterpart might’ve had two genera,
generations ago. I guarantee you, if you did that, if you, if you applied
for that program and walked into, to the Italian literature department,
to the extent of what would exist today. Yeah. Maybe I should have said in
history. It’s different. You know, you could divine comedy, I’d love to
do that. Or maybe. Yeah, divine comedy. But you could study to
divine comedy. The Circus. For years and not get anywhere. Or
maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe in your case. I’ve maybe, maybe I should have said
bioscience but yeah, but the point, the point is you, you’d be today way
smarter than you were when you were 20. Well, how about? You’d be
way more motivated. Yup.
You’d be driven like crazy. Yeah. Uh, you’d bring this lifetime of perspective
and judgment. It’s true, you would. You know, how to, how to deal with
things across sectors in new ways. So the answer is yes. Universities.
The other thing is universities have, have a business model
problem, right? Sure. So this is not just a do
good for the world thing. This is do good for the adversity
thing. Yeah, make money. Open the door, opens the doors to a
broader community. But also, think about a classroom scenario.
Cause I, talking about the mentorship, talking about the
interactions between the, we don’t see enough
interaction between, you know, really the elderly or older
and younger. So in a classroom, if you have a 20 year old and
a 30 year old and 50 year old, what happens to that dynamic? It’s a
fab, it’s a fabulous dynamic. My friend, you know, I chair the board of, which is a wonderful organization
focused on, uh, connecting, connecting the generations and, and, and, and encouraging enabling old people to
principally to serve young people, to, to, to, to do good through,
through service. Uh, and my, my friend Marc Freedman talks all
the time about how we become, uh, the most age segregated
society in the world. What we know is that the interactions
between young people and old people are powerful. They, they have complimentary
skills and complimentary interests. Uh, young people benefit incredibly from
the mentorship of old, of older people. Older people benefit, not
just socially, but physically. We talked a little bit about it
from the, from engagement with, with younger people. It’s, it’s magic.
Yeah. And it should be the norm in, in, in businesses and education institutions
and very much in communities. So, so tackling age segregation, which I also frankly think is one of
the things that explains some of our politics and my friends in the UK who
were struggling with their own political battles think that some of the, some
of the same thing is true. And that is, you know, if you think about the
interaction in the US between, uh, what Ron Brownstein and my friend Fernando
Torres-Gil call called the brown and the gray, the, the, the, the aging white population in
the United States and the, uh, the young population of, of color and
the fact that there just is not enough. Yeah. Engagement, bumping into each
other. The, there’s understandable, although not justifiable fear, anxiety
about, about change, to, you know, if you think, who were the,
the two most prominent, uh, old people in, in, well, in the, in the US and in and in Great Britain, Donald Trump and Nigel Farrage. Right,
right. Well, the Queen. Yeah. Right. So, so maybe the Queen. Yeah,
that’s, that’s the good part. The point is the notion of, of
embrace, embrace, of embrace across, across culture can do so many things
to heal the rifts in our society. So again, this goes back to
building institutions. So Jesse, Jesse has to back academic institutions.
It’s businesses, it’s communities. It’s everything. A lot of
these things we talk about, that we hear about every
day. Um, you know, AI, natural language processing, uh, robotics. The future of these things are going
to play a part in aging. You know, we don’t, we think of them as
separated, but don’t they play a role? They already do play a role. Sure. Sure
they play a role and, and they can play, you know, you talked earlier about
the, about the potential impacts of, you know, disruptive advances
and bioscience and all the rest, but in the meantime.
Uh, there’s a lot that, that tech advances, that AI and
other things can do to improve lives. You know, what we know is, is that,
is that when the day comes, when, uh, when Uber, Uber and Lyft
really do have autonomous, autonomous car, car services, that the, that the notion of taking the keys away
from mom and dad and disabling their independence are over. That’s when. Yeah,
that is. Someboyd took my keys away, you know what I mean. Well, that’s,
that’s. They should take yours. They should probably take
years away. But that, but that. My son wants to take mine away.
But that, but, but the point is, the point is that that’s a
beautiful thing to have. I’ve, I’ve also written about the
fact that, that it just, just enabling people to take
advantage of autonomous cars is just, it’s not just an exciting prospect. Yeah. We have to ensure that homes and
the places where they go. Yeah. Are age-friendly. Sure.
And enable access, right. Uh, but that’s just one. That’s one
example. Tele, you know, Teledocs um, there are issues with, with social
media, right? I mean, there, there’s, there’s some research that suggests that
people that spend more than a couple of hours, uh, hours a day on social media
actually report as lonelier. Yes. But, but, but certainly the, I think there
are opportunities, social media, uh, the leaders in social media, Facebook, Google and others have the opportunity
to think through. Connectors, it’s about being connected. Yeah to
think through how they can become more, more effective connectors. That can be
incredibly powerful, not just, again, with grandkids. Yeah right.
but, but with. Working. That’s a huge problem to solve,
loneliness. Yeah. You know, it’s a big problem to solve. And what,
but for you, you know, upsides of aging. Yeah. We have a few minutes
left. What are they, I mean, and you must spend a lot of time talking
to people and really, I don’t know, when you go around and in your work, do you also really work with people
in their eighties and their nineties, and what’s, what’s, what’s good,
what are they excited about? You know about the happiness curve. Have
you ever heard of the happiness curve? I have. Right. So, so kind of kind
of work of positive psychology, which basically says the happiest
times in life are, are when we’re, when we’re young and when we’re old.
It’s the time in the middle when we are, when we’re dealing with
kids and all, all, all the, all the complexity that that creates,
you know, the, the most difficulty. So, so old, I think older age and
whatever way it’s defined, should become the most
meaningful time of life. It’s the time when you’re
direct, when you have, when you’ve developed filters
and, and maybe the honesty is, to say what you really want
and what you really don’t want, to use your time in ways that
are really meaningful to you. Not dictated by ah, professional expectations or societal
expectations or educational or familial expectations or whatever. But on what’s
really important, what really matters. It’s the time. It’s the time to build
legacy. It’s the time for what’s, for what’s important. Uh, I
always say to people, again, there may be some people in leadership
who never got this message. Uh, but, but I, but I always say to people that I think
most of us heard something from our parents that when something
like this, different words, leave the world a better place than you
found it. Most, most of us heard that. This is the time of life in
which we can think about how to, how to do that doesn’t mean, by
the way, it’s not a challenge. But this is the time of life to, to think
about how we can. How do we leave it. Make contributions not just to,
to better our own lives, but to, to the next generation. Uh, uh,
people talk about the joy of grandparenting I’m not there
yet, but hope springs et. We, I got a fantastic daughter in law
and if she’s listening. Ha, ha, ha. My son and daughter, they know,
we’re. Uh, um, and by the way, you know the reason why grandparents
and grandchildren get along so well, don’t you?. Why? Common enemy. Ha.
Wait, what was that? Common enemy. The reason why children,
common enemy. Very good joke. So I think if, if, if society,
very much, by the way, people in your, in your
business, if those who are, who are influencers and culture
creators, filmmakers, writers, artists and, and others paint, paint a more appealing and attractive
picture of the possibilities of older age. I think employers and educational
institutions are open to, to, uh, thinking about age as part of
the diversity and inclusion matrix. Yeah. Right. Not, not just
race, gender, sexuality, but age diversity as, as an asset. Right. I think if we can begin to tackle these
questions of beauty and physical change, the notion that that getting
older doesn’t mean you’re less, it means you’re different.
Yeah. So I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that that change
is here, but you know, but culture change
takes a long time. Yeah. The Civil Rights act of
1964 didn’t end racism. The modern women’s movement
now 45 years ago or so. Right. Betty, Friedan, etc, it
didn’t create pay parity. We still don’t have pay parity. Sure. Ah, um. Actually, actually, probably
the movement that did that, that happened most rapidly and
maybe most dramatic dramatically. And maybe there were a
range of explanations for, it was the shift in attitudes and
ideas about the LGBTQ community, but, but still still fighting battles.
So it’s, it’s going to be a while to. We gotta stay alive to fight
the right battle. Uh, yeah. So we have to fight that
fight. And I think, you know, I think what all of us should, you’ve
kids, I don’t, do you have kids? A kid. Okay. So, so I think what
all of us have to hope is, is that when our kids are 60, 70, 80, they see their, their longer lives and they see their
potential as just an incredible blessing. Yeah. And um, and, and, and an opportunity to do great and important things without
the impediment of kind of the ageist notions that hopefully will
be long gone by that stage. Thank you for coming out so much.
Thank you so much. I’m happy to. We’ll talk to you 20 years from now.
I hope I’ll be around. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, that was great. Thank you. Thank
you guys. I, we filmed, we were doing it, I thought we were just warming up. No, Thanks for watching or listening. Don’t
forget to subscribe. Click here, here, for the next episode.

5 thoughts on “JESSE’S OFFICE (Ep#6) “The Future of Aging” with PAUL IRVING from the Milken Institute”

  1. No future here. I'm out by 78. Upside? Hahaha hahaha yeah if you're a Gave me, with a decent retirement to live a quality of life .
    Re: sweetener. Fake sugar is crap. You are adding other issues.

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