Fifty years is a pretty long time. That’s 18,250 days. Minus the dependent age from zero to twenty, we’ve clocked over 10,000 days as adults. If we spend half that time sleeping, that’s more than 5,000 days, enough to go round the world 62 times, Verne’s way.
A friend’s mum said that we go through four perspectives of life and death.
0-21 years – Unafraid to die. Don’t understand or care about life and death. Often challenging death. Feels invincible.
20s & 40s – Quietly fearing death. Career or business building up. Responsible for loved ones. Becomes precautionary.
50s & 60s – Empty nest. Starting to feel pains and aches. Harder to lose weight or heal. Some hit with long-term illnesses. Wonders about euthanasia and wills before senility takes over.
70s onwards – Staying alive on tablets, pills and visits to doctors. Friends are leaving or gone, so is memory and other abilities. Waiting for the time to go.
But wait. That’s the view of the older generation.
According to a BBC article, we’ve only reached middle age. A generation ago, middle age was 36 when the average lifespan was in the 70s. Now, it is predicted that boomers-turn-centenarians will fill the earth. That’s frightfully alarming, isn’t it?
But let’s not fret over this too much or we’ll just be counting the days till the sun stops burning.
Main thing to note is that ageing in the 21st century is very different from a generation ago. 50s is the new 30s now. We have another 25 or more good years to take charge of our lives. We’ve got to start planning and stop resigning to the old concept of retirement.
It’s still possible to pursue your dream, no matter how ridiculous you think. For example, if you dream of being a doctor or lawyer, it only takes about 5 years to get qualified. So if you start at 50, you can still practise before 60 and continue for another 10 or more years. I know someone who has done it.
At our age, it isn’t about losing sleep to make more money. It’s about adding more meaning to our lives and to the people around us. And in the course of it, staying connected and engaged helps us to be positive, interesting and independent.
Imagine if we live to be 100, that’s still another 50 years to go. It’s up to us to make them awesome or worrisome years. But nothing’s guaranteed anyway, so make the best of our time while we can, of our health while we still have it. Being young is a state of mind.