About your personal life expectancy

Old book illustration of a toddler in a tantrum hitting a drum with a watch and a fork

By all means have a tantrum when you discover how long you are going to live

Here I wrote about my undignified response upon discovering that I was likely to live to about 98 or 99. Now you can listen to an episode on the topic in my podcast, How to be old.

http://www.apa.org/monitor/oct02/attitudes.aspx

11 thoughts on “About your personal life expectancy

  1. lifecameos says:

    Very interesting ! I have so far averaged my possible lifespan out between my father’s age at death – 91 – and my mother from a family with very poor health / medical history, still lasting to 81. As I had three redundancies which greatly reduced my chances at saving a reserve fund, I also decided to allow for the possibility of living to 91. I am accordingly very cautious about how I spend any of that “smaller” reserve fund. So far I have managed, having no vast disasters, and my health issues managed by the GP. However a few friends and family members have experienced genetic time bombs even when living as recommended by experts – good diet, plenty of exercise, mental stimulation, good stress management. etc. It seems to me all we can do is our best, and expect the unexpected.

    1. This is very sensible, as well as practical — indeed, we have no idea what our real lifespan will be. But I’m glad I’ve got a more realistic idea than I used to have.

      1. lifecameos says:

        Oh yes. I am sure it helps us a lot in these days when we are living so much longer.

  2. cedar51 says:

    I’m not sure I really want to know…

    But society in NZ is changing – when I was looking to move, I heard that it was possible to get rentals in some retirement villages, but on inquiry found “no way, you’ve too young…” I was 66, apparently they were taking no one under 70!

    I don’t know if the situation outside Auckland is different, but in every suburb there’s a big number of units/apts for retirees…it’s big business as far as I can tell.

    I don’t actually have a home of my own, now…a marriage split up put paid to that & then a bad investment…(long story about the financial side…)

    I live within my means which as well as NZsuper have top-ups for various reasons. I don’t run a car, and I’m not expensive bimbo either but I seem to manage to eat reasonably well, and get away for a short trips/retreat…I’ve got a fee-free scholarship for my current art study…

    I’ve got health and disability issues – which mostly I just self-manage although the GP provides other medicines for certain things. Sometimes I feel like that one of the issues will get me…but so far, managed in the main to stay on top of things…

    My parents were old when I was born, apparently one of those “special babies” and hence they were gone before I was 25. My siblings much older as well, but now only me and the eldest still alive, She is 91!

  3. 91, huh? Well, I don’t know how long I am going to live, obviously, but I thrive on facts that I can interpret positively. Sounds as if you’ve got it sussed!

    1. cedar51 says:

      Big sis, didn’t expect to live past year 2000 but she an hubby did. Hubby has now gone…and each year Big Sis’s daughter thinks she will be gone soon. I have no idea how she has survived, but each trip to hospital is always an emergency – she may spend weeks there – but somehow arrives back home – a little less well, but okay to live at home, with help.

      Big Sis was one of the last and the oldest person, at that time, to succumb to polio when it was rife in NZ. Her disabilities were basically minimal but there has been problems…

      1. It’s never simple.

  4. I think the attitude of those intrepid Aussie & Kiwi caravanners helps too. “Come on Mabel, just one more Big Lap of Oz.”

    1. Absolutely!

  5. jameswharris says:

    That would scare the crap out of me to think I’d live that long. My mother would say every Christmas that she didn’t think she’d live another year. She said that for over thirty years. I’m not anxious to die, but neither am I anxious to live into my nineties. I’d have to lose weight and get awful fit to think that’s possible.

  6. It was a heck of a shock. And yet, I got used to it. And so would you, to be realistic! More time for reading, thinking, and other mind adventures…

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