Life Expectancy – What Should We Wish For?

Elder_HandCurrently I am in the process of moving and breaking apart a home in which I have lived for just over ten years.  It is my third house in eighteen years and whenever there is a move the process is to discard things — “hoe out” as my mother would say.  This time I am trying to be very diligent about the hoeing because I know the next time will not be any easier … nor will the times after that.

How many times? Well, there’s the question that has no answer since none of us can know what life will bring our way. But we can make some educated guesses and today I found a book that led me down that educated-guesstimate path.

It had been given to my late husband on the occasion of his 46th birthday. (We didn’t know at the time that he would have just seven more birthdays and one residence move.) The book was entitled “Happy Birthday: January 23” (his birth day) and is a clever collection of facts about the date.  But in the back is a fascinating chart entitled “At Your Age” which starts with age 1 and goes to age 100 and lists things like the number of times your heart has beat, the number of hours you have slept, breathes you have taken, etc. at any given age.  It’s very interesting. For example, I am aged 65 and my heart has beat an astounding 2,706,940,800 times!

I decided this information is fun to have handy and went online to see if I could locate a similar chart.  I couldn’t. (So I’ll rip the pages out of the book, scan them and throw it all away.)  But I did locate a fascinating website called “How Long Will I Live?”  You fill in data about yourself, press the “Calculate Life Expectancy” and Voila!  You are provided with the  best actuarial the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania can muster.

My life expectancy is 90.03 years.  On the lower end it is 83.32 but there is a 75% chance I will live longer than that.  Even at my median lifetime of 90.99 years there is a 50% chance I will live longer!

I wish I could say I found comfort and joy in these numbers but I don’t. I guess I have seen too much during my time as a nurse.  The golden years should probably be re-named the fool’s gold years because in most instances they are nothing like the plans that people make.  Laura Smith sings about this beautifully in a song entitled “I Never Dreamed”.  In one line she sings “I didn’t dream about old people/Getting diseases in their brains.”  It happens more and more.  We conquer the heart disease or cancer only to end up with dementia.  So, you can live to be 93 and your heart will beat 3,658,928,400 times, you will inhale 565,880,515 breaths, and eat 102,725 meals but you can’t remember what you ate for breakfast or the day of the week.

Honestly, I need to drink more and take up smoking.  🙂

One thought on “Life Expectancy – What Should We Wish For?

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  1. Jajajaja I enjoy this..I am too a nurse and it reminded me of a patient I once had that one day told me…don’t know about you but golden years can kiss my axx….as I am almost already there myself…I have not figure out how I really feel about it…but try not to think too much….thanks for sharing


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