Do I Really Want to Live That Long?

The other day I took one of those absurd Facebook quizzes that bombard my feed. You know the ones like, which Biblical character are you? What color best represents you? And, if you were a tree, what kind would it be? (Apologies, Barbara Walters.)

This quiz asked a series of questions to determine how much longer you would live. It was multiple choice, with questions about my favorite beverage consumption and least favorite holiday, among other things.

Shrug. Sure, why not?

I went through the quiz and answered accurately and honestly, never giving a thought to where this might lead me.

The pop-up box declared that I would live for another 44 years and some-number of months. (The smaller number escapes me because I was so gobsmacked by the first figure.)

Forty-friggin’-four more years!? Are you kidding me?

In essence, this little parlor game was telling me I am essentially only halfway through my life.

My reaction to this finding (which has about as much validity as a Magic 8 ball or the “Zoltar Speaks” fortune-telling machine from the movie “Big”) surprised me.

I don’t want to last until I am 94!


I love my wife and my sons, but not to sound cliché, I don’t want to be a burden on them in my advanced dotage. (Besides, my wife and I have a pact that we are both going out together in a burning bed set ablaze by the embers of our passionate lovemaking.)

I turned 50 in October, and while I am benefiting (finally) from many emotional insights and real-life wisdom, my body seems to have other ideas. Though I work out and eat right, there is more snap, crackle and pop in my joints than a bowl of Rice Krispies.

I have seen the ravages of dementia in relatives and the toll of age on mobility and energy. I think I can stay pretty active and sharp for another 20, 25 years, but beyond that, I have my doubts.

I have witnessed what others have endured in what is euphemistically called “elder care” and I don’t wish that on my sons, who I want to go on living fulfilling, unencumbered lives, free of adult diapers, trips to the doctor and circular conversations.

And for sure, I have not saved nearly enough money to last me into my 90s.

I fear much more the death of my loved ones than I do my own. The question of what is a “good” age to die has been explored recently, with at least one essay concluding that 75 is an appropriate age to go.

That sounds about right for me. I am sure there are those who will disagree with me and think my outlook is all rather selfish.


But if you will excuse me, I’ve got to get busy living what’s left of the rest of my life.