Designing your life in an unpredictable world: Aquarium’s Aquatic Academy tackles longevity

It’s not the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) you should be worried about, but the ROMO (Risk of Missing Out) you should be taking practical steps to avoid, according to Russ Hill of Halbert Hargrove, who partnered with the Aquarium of the Pacific on its upcoming Aquatic Academy, Longevity: Changing the Narrative.

“If you don’t think about the things that are important to you, you may look back when you’re 70, 80, maybe 90 and in relatively good health, and think, I could have done all these things… so why not think about it in advance?” said Hill.

ROMO is the risk of missing out on the potential 10 to 30 additional years of healthy life many of us have yet to consider; most of us frame our expectations based on our parents, but we’re going to live seven to nine years longer, at least, if new medical discoveries are true, Hill noted.

Would you go to school or borrow money the same way if you knew you could live to be over 100? Would you take a sabbatical at 25 instead of 65?

These are just a couple of the questions the speakers of this season’s Academy, the first of four sessions starting on Wednesday, Oct. 2, will discuss; designed to teach the secrets to living a fulfilling, and much less predictable life and, just as important, how to afford it.

“It’s clear that mostly people who are seniors think about it, but I think this is for everybody,” Hill said.

On Wednesday, Oct. 2 founding director of the Stanford Center for Longevity Laura L. Carstensen will introduce the concept and how worldwide factors such as aging societies will affect our futures right here at home; next up on Oct. 7 is Don Ezra, author of Retirement Life Two: How to Get to and Enjoy What Used to be Called Retirement, who will discuss how he came to understand his identity, relationships, and financial and social changes post “regular” work.

The third session on Oct. 17 will have President of Rest-of-Life Communications Steve Vernon talking about how to build a personal portfolio, as in all the not-so-lucrative aspects of life that make it worth living; and how will we pay for those extra years afforded to us through the advancement of medical technologies? He’ll cover that, too.

The last and final session on Oct. 24 will feature Bill Burnett behind the podium, co-author of Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life. Audience members will be encouraged to find out what’s truly important to them, and then act upon these realizations to, well, design their lives to the fullest.

“I think most people have no idea the options they have,” said Hill. “You grow up, go through education, go to work, retire and then you die; that already is not true anymore. Most people who are coming out of high school or college will have many, many careers or jobs, it’s not lifetime anymore.”

If you think it’s interesting that an aquarium would tackle such a subject, know that the people over at the forward-thinking institution believe that when communities are well connected, healthy and productive, that’s when they have the energy to create positive changes for the environment. Way to think ahead, Aquarium of the Pacific… way, way ahead.

Last thing, if you have to miss a session, no problem, they’re not dependent on each other, said Hill. And afterward the Aquarium will pull together a report on all the information shared throughout the month.

Longevity: Changing the Narrative takes place Wednesday, Oct. 2, Thursday, Oct. 10, Thursday, Oct. 17 and Thursday, Oct. 24 from 7 to 9 p.m. It’s $40 for all four courses, $25 for Aquarium members. For more information and to RSVP, visit

Support our journalism.

Hyperlocal news is an essential force in our democracy, but it costs money to keep an organization like this one alive, and we can’t rely on advertiser support alone. That’s why we’re asking readers like you to support our independent, fact-based journalism. We know you like it—that’s why you’re here. Help us keep hyperlocal news alive in Long Beach.

Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.