What's Your Life Expectancy?
Apparently mine is 84 years as long as I avoid disease, falling from a height or serious injury.
I never like dwelling on my potential life expectancy.
With the passing of actor Paul Ritter I viewed some episodes of Friday Night Dinner, and one in particular stood out.
How ironic that the first episode I chose to watch, S6 Ep. 4, featured a life expectancy calculator.
What made me feel sentimental about Ritter's death was the cause. He died from the same disease that killed my Dad.
Ritter was only 54 years old.
Damn Lies and Statistics
Paul Ritter's character, Martin, was disappointed his life wouldn't last long enough to visit the planet Mars because visits will not be available until 2050. Then he started quoting the years each of his family might be expected to live.
You can see what's coming, can't you?
I wondered if such a website existed, and yes, one does—the Life Expectancy Calculator.
The life expectancy calculator is published by the Office for National Statistics, the UK's largest independent producer of official statistics on the economy, population and society at national, regional and local levels.
Now, I know to take such things with a pinch of salt, or at least I would if the salt didn't affect my blood pressure. And I know the calculator doesn't take lifestyle into account.
For example, I could be ripped with bulging muscles and a six-pact or sway to the softer end of the spectrum. You'll have to guess which.
The life expectancy calculator does not consider my weekly running, regular walking or my fondness for craft beer. Nor does it take account of the slab of butter I put on pancakes.
When I'm Eighty-Four
There's something eerie about seeing your statistically derived life expectancy displayed on a screen. The reveal reminded me of when I saw my grandparent's headstone. Seeing my surname on a headstone is akin to someone shouting at you;
YOU ARE MORTAL!
But let's break this down.
If you lived in the Gaza Strip or in Ukraine, a life expectancy of 84 years might seem wishful thinking. With that in mind and knowing that many people fail to reach an elderly stage in life, I ask what does 84 mean to me. Assuming it's achievable of course.
To some, another 30 years is a long time, but to me, 30 is a small number. If it's like the last 30 years, it will fly in.
Granted, it might feel slow if I were in prison.
In 1992 I was a couple of years into my career. It was the year I nearly married the wrong woman, and around the time I bought my first car.
Actually, it was a long time ago.
Six years from now I'll be heading towards sixty and that's scary. It's made worse, or possibly better, because I still feel thirty, while my wife thinks I act much younger.
But let's look on the bright side.
I still have a one in four chance of reaching my nineties, so I better keep running and cut down on the butter.
I would love to see 90 years of age, but only if I'm healthy. I don't want to reach a stage in life when I need someone to help me to the toilet, eat or change TV channels.
It would also be a great help if Google or Apple perfected the self-driving car.
My wife and I could stay independent, and "Hey Google, take us to the shops."
There is also an age difference between my wife and me. My wife is nine years older, which means I only want to be 91 if my darling love can reach the happy-go-lucky age of 100. Her Dad is 100.
Window on the Future
My challenge today is to keep working on my fitness and try to live a good life.
- keep running
- eat less, especially sugar
- get the blood pressure down
There's no point in worrying about a number. Nobody is guaranteed tomorrow, let alone reaching 2052.
My overall approach is to live every moment, be kind to people and animals, and chill.