Life is getting shorter


I used to wish that my entire family would die in the same plane crash.

This was back when I was really young and first learning about death, so don’t worry. I think it makes sense. I couldn’t imagine life without those close to me… parents, sisters, grandparents and so on.

And while not crystal clear about those days—especially now, forty or so years removed—I can still remember being in bed at night, just before drifting off to sleep, and thinking about losing my family. It was a simple conclusion. If there was just a way that all of us could die at the same time, none of us would have to suffer without the others.

The mind of a child.

Looking back, I can see the flaws. Flaws that aren’t so apparent when you’re issuing boarding passes to a flight of doom for everyone you know. Flaws like deciding when the fight should take place. Flaws such as the joys of watching your family grow, sharing their lives, and knowing they carry on after you. Flaws.

Recently I was working on some things, with this leading to that, and a stat popped up showing the rough estimates of my life expectancy. Apparently, I’m about sixty percent of the way along my journey.

Of course, there are no promises. A few extra cheeseburgers… a few longer walks… the line could really move in either direction. (And a cheeseburger does sound really good right now.) Still… line… moving either direction. By a few years. Perhaps several years. No promises.

Math and data and sterile realities. No persuasive arguments or additional considerations.

Sixty percent.

About twenty years ago, two members of my family moved into a community that provided senior and assisted living residences. We were there to help on moving day, and if I’m being honest, it looked pretty sweet. Dining room and an exercise center. Indoor pool, a game room and an art studio. A staff to take care of maintenance and property care.

What would the remaining forty percent look like to me if I didn’t have to be concerned with time invested in mowing lawns, cleaning gutters, making meals, shopping and more? It’s a thinker.

It’s also an interesting frame of reference.

Let’s say I began living my life around the time I graduated from college. Obviously, that’s not completely fair or even accurate. But a professional career… meeting my wife… major decisions and life events. Essentially, I still have more time in front of me than I’ve invested in those accomplishments. (I know my wife will be thrilled with that sentiment. She’s very excited about spending that forty percent with me. Very excited. She also won’t tell me where the life insurance and retirement investment information is, but I digress.)

While I may not be as spry or active as I was years ago, I can still travel and move about. I think my mind is still sharp.

And yet the wall is out there. The end of the road. Like it or not, it is getting closer.

The data and numbers and analysis have placed that wall in a certain spot, though there are events and circumstances that can move that wall. None of it changes the fact that there is wall… there is an end of the road.

From the moment you are born, your life is getting shorter. The curve to the story is none of are given a calendar or clock telling us how short it is.

For me… sixty percent with a ribbon around it.

It’s perspective, isn’t it?

Almost a half-empty, half-full situation.

One thing is different though. I no longer think about that particular plane ride.


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at