Sophie Heawood: Is my newborn ready to face living to 100?

The thing is...
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The Independent Online

The thing is, I'm not convinced that living forever is a very good idea, but it seems that the daughter with whom I am eight months up the duff may achieve just that. The Office for National Statistics has just announced that a baby girl born in 2011 has a one-in-three chance of reaching 100 (although it's only one-in-four for boys).

This terrifies me, because people in my family already live far too long and do everything far too slowly. My late grandfather was born in the 19th century; my cousins have some really groovy anecdotes about the dissolution of the monasteries; I'm enjoying my first pregnancy a mere 22 years after my first bewildering encounter with the instructions on a Tampax packet. So I have no doubt that the one-in-three will be my one, and that she could live well beyond that first century to at least 120.

I keep thinking of all the things she is supposed to learn from me. All the wisdom I have accrued in my 35 years of sage, seasoned panic. All the things I was going to pass on to her, whatever they were – surely she will need a lot more of them.

Telegrams from the Queen are already gone, what with the cuts – although I think you can now get a retweet from Princess Beatrice's hat – but there will be bigger things for this generation of permanent senescence to worry about. For starters, all those books called things like 100 Places To See Before You Die will have to be repackaged as 100 Places To See Before They Replace Your Retinas With Holograms of Dragons. And if the men can't last the course then the ladies will need several husbands, just like Joan Collins. Forget about being a burden on the NHS – my progeny is going to drain resources down the registry office and the bronzer counter at Boots.

And what sort of pressure will there be on her generation to achieve? Hardly any! Be honest – would you have got much done without that vague sensation that you were likely to cark it at some point before the next Ice Age?

Still, there is one thing to be grateful for, and that is that every old person I have ever met has been a raging alcoholic. Which means – and really, this makes the whole thing worth it – that the Government is going to forget about nationalising banks and privatising hospitals and get on with its real national duty. Yes, it is time to bring back Oddbins.