My husband and I recently met with our financial planner to see how much longer we’d have to work before we could retire. A few questions had to be answered before she could crunch the numbers, most notably: HOW LONG DO YOU EXPECT TO LIVE?
I think I remember asking my grandmother this question when I was about seven, and was severely reprimanded for my insensitivity. It is not the sort of question you are likely to ask your seat-mate at your Thanksgiving Dinner.
As a Certified Health Coach I have accumulated way too much knowledge on how the food I eat, the sleep I don’t get, and the coffee I shouldn’t drink is affecting my health. Even though I am blessed with good genes from two parents who lived into their 90’s, and I drink lots of water, and I do plenty of YOGA, I know I could do more to be healthier. How does one translate this knowledge of one’s health and self-care, invariably tainted by subjectivity, into an answer to the question: How long will I live?
How long do I want to live? I only know that I want to die healthy. I don’t want any chronic disease or debilitating medical intervention to take me out. I care less about when I leave this world, than how. This is what motivates me to be active, to help friends, to seek joy, to find purpose, to read, and to eat well 80% of the time. I want to be healthy, fit, and cogent till the day I die.
Turns out, I’m not alone. My client base is dominated by active, older adults like myself. We’re old enough to start thinking about our mortality, but still young enough, and motivated, to do something about it.
What’s your answer to this question? If you want an “assist,” there are “Life Expectancy Calculators.” One of my favorites, in part because it was produced by my alma mater, is: http://gosset.wharton.upenn.edu/mortality/perl/CalcForm.html
Enjoy the inquiry.
Theodora Wilner, MA, RYT, HC is a Wellness Advisor and Certified Health Coach who works with active, older adults looking to reclaim their health, reduce their cravings, and restore their energy. For more information: www.wilnerweb.com