My wife and I were talking while walking the dog this morning. I'd made the comment that 60 was the new 40; she said there are still a lot of ways aging can and does kill you, like Alzheimer's (her mother died of it).
I responded "but they're working on that."
Then it dawned on me: These days, an integral part of our mental framework is the dollop of optimism that comes with "they're working on that."
I wonder whether people 100 years ago had the same feeling.
Related: NPR Planet Money podast, Would You Rather be Rich in 1900, or Middle-Class Now?; see also the discussion of that podcast at Hacker News.