Tag Archives: Third Stage of Life

Expectancy

Have you heard all the talk about how we have a whole new stage of life nowadays after the good old traditional age of retirement of 65. I have read all these estimates that we could have 20 years or more to live after the age of 65. So people are pondering what we should and could do with the extra time. Then I read Life in the Boomer Lane’s post about my generation, the Baby Boomers, where she shares that our original life expectancy, calculated at the year we were born, was around 70. This did stop me in my tracks, because I am getting close to that age. What are you saying?  I could die in a couple of years? What happened to my 20 extra years? I even had posted a link to life expectancy charts I had found on Wikipedia in one of my previous posts. Life in the Boomer Lane pointed out that those charts were for people born in the past few years. YIKES! Then she said if your alive now there is a different way of calculating the years you have left.

OK, this got me researching how we get these life expectancy numbers. I found out it is based on statistics, and mathematical formulas, and my head might explode trying to understand it. But I did find the US Social Security Actuarial Tables that predicts, ( with the help of some other mathematical formula), using your age in 2011, how many more years you probably have left. It was very encouraging that it showed I may have those 20 years back again.

You might say, as I do, that no one really knows for sure how long any of us have to live. I just prefer to think I have those 20 years left to go. I think we need to make a conscious effort not to take life shortening statistical predictions to heart because if we buy into them as being absolute it might be a self fulfilling prophesy.

Beatrice Wood  ,a famous artist who lived to 105, attributed her longevity to “art books, chocolates, and young men.”  That sounds pretty good, especially the chocolates.

Featured Image, Muir Woods paved hiking trail, is courtesy of SCEhardt on Wikipedia.

 

Following My Own Path

There is so much advice readily available from experts about how to live out the later years of our lives. I have seen different estimates of how long of a time we have left after say the traditional retirement age of 65. Wikipedia posted longevity charts from WHO and the UN that vary slightly. I noted that in poorer countries the life expectancy is much lower, closer to our traditional retirement age. So this third stage of life is a privilege of richer countries. And we are not all guaranteed those extra years.

One post I read said we should fill up our remaining years with giving back in volunteer work, others advice second acts, and new careers. I think this has to be a very individual decision. After all, it is the last years of YOUR life, not the experts lives. And you should be able to decide what to do with it and not feel guilty about it either. I liked this post by Dr. Bill Thomas, ( I know another expert), who says we are obsessed with this prolonged adulthood in our society that starts with trying to make adults out of our children when they’re still kids and ends with wanting to prolong middle age to forever because we think old age is terrible. Here is part of what he said:

 “we find that older people are increasingly judged, and not according to the merits of age. Instead, the worth of an older person is determined by his or her ability to emulate a highly effective adult. People who still drive, still work, still run marathons and who still look, act and feel like young people are deemed to be successful. Those who can’t still do those things are… failures.”

I am in the process of looking at ageing and determining what I hope my remaining years to be. I have to look at my own abilities, passions, and limitations. I need to set my own course with what feels right to me. I have to know within myself that I have value even if I don’t run marathons,  or look like my younger self.