If you are going to live a LOT longer than you think, it needs to change a lot of your life choices and goals. If you might be married for 100 years, or your career needs to last for 80, how would impact the decisions you make?

Living longer doesn’t just mean living the lives we’re living now but more years of the same. It means we have the opportunity to rethink and unlearn many different things. Join me as we think about life, love, work, and careers in an aging world.


If I’m right about how long you’re going to live, it’s going to change everything, because I think you’re going to live a lot longer than you imagine. Today’s young people are likely to live to 120 years and beyond. And this is one of my favourite examples to help people to realise just how difficult it is to actually have strategic imagination about the future.

Imagine you’re 25 years old and you’ve fallen in love and you’re planning to get married. I wonder if you are imagining that you might have to be married for 100 years to this person that you love now. I wonder if human beings were even made to do that. Of course, you’ve got all your romantic ideals and you hope that your love lasts forever, but I wonder whether it’s even possible.

My name is Graeme Codrington, this is Throw Forward Thursday, where every week we jump into the future and we work out what’s going on there, and then try and find out what it means for us today.

And today we’re having a look at this issue of ageing. Last week I talked about the darning of the age of grandparents and today I want to pick up that theme of living in an ageing world. But ask us to imagine what we need to reimagine, what do we need to rethink and unlearn if we are going to live this long? This issue of rethinking and unlearning is one of the most important skills that a futurist has.

This is really at the heart of the work that I do. Not so much predicting what might happen in the future, but helping people, people just like you, to learn the skills and develop a toolkit to help you to think like a futurist, and our ability to imagine things that have never happened, or to imagine what things that might happen will do to the system’s instructions of the world, that issue we call rethinking and unlearning. And it’s at the heart of what it means to be a futurist.

So, if you’re going to live to 125, for example, this isn’t just about living the life you expect to live, but then living it longer. It really has to impact every part of your life. For example, if you fall in love with somebody at age 25, and maybe you should only be married for 10 or 20 years at a time. And then if you’re still in love, you renew the contract. Otherwise, it’s just over. There’s no big fuss over divorce. It’s just, thank you, that was fun. Let’s move on to the next chapter of our lives.

Maybe we should be thinking significantly differently about careers. Instead of thinking I’ve got to have one career that lasts me for 100 plus years, maybe we need to be thinking that every 25 years or so, we cycle through a career with a few years of set up and study and development, then getting yourself into the career, developing yourself as an expert in that, reaching the top of that career path, then retiring, taking a little bit of a break and starting the process over again, so that you can do that two or three times before you turn 100 or 120, rather than trying to imagine yourself doing the same job over and over again for 60 years while you make enough money so that you can retire and then be retired with nothing to do for 30 or 40 years.

So maybe there’s a different way of thinking about our lives, our families, our communities, our societies. There’s also probably an important change in the way that we need to be thinking about what the world looks like.

Now here, I have to thank two people who particularly called me out on the images I used in last week’s video where I was talking about grandparents. Most of the images were of people who were in their 60s and 70s. Whereas, of course, there are grandparents these days who are significantly younger than that, quite a lot more who look a lot younger than that. So even though this is what I do for a living, I was still stuck in that paradigm of seeing the world in a certain way.

That’s at the heart of the work that I do to help you to rethink and unlearn as you develop your skill set of thinking like a futurist. One of the best ways to develop that toolkit and to get access to the research, the resources, and the work that I do is to join my futures club. Just go to www.jointhefuturesclub.com to get some information on how to do that. And we’ll pick up this conversation with the Future’s Club members as we talk about what we need to do to rethink and unlearn.

But for now, thank you for coming to the future with me. Make sure that you think about how long you would like to live, how long you are likely to live, and what that’s going to mean for your life, your relationships, and your career.

I’ll see you next week.


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Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change. Chat to us about booking Graeme to help you Re-Imagine and upgrade your thinking to identify the emerging opportunities in your industry.

For the past two decades, Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.



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