I am going to die.

time

I am going to die. Someday. And so will you. Let’s not kid ourselves–life is a terminal illness and you and I will both die from it sooner or later.

My daughter said something just the other day that made me stop in my tracks and gave me a bit of a jolt.
She said, “Mom, you’re entirely too healthy for your age.”

She’s right. I’ve never had a serious illness (not counting major depression that required inpatient psychiatric treatment) and I avoid doctors like the plague. Most people my age suffer from some sort of chronic health problem or another. I don’t fuss about my health more than the average 20 year old and I certainly enjoy my artery-clogging, sugar-laden foods. The only reason I don’t weigh as much as a house is because I work it all off at my physically strenuous job. So at least I’m not living a sedentary lifestyle. I quit my gym membership because I don’t need it anymore. Every major muscle group gets a workout every day. I’ve never been in better shape. It’s the best thing about my job.

I’m 55. That means if I die at an average ripe old age (75), I only have twenty years left to live. That’s a sobering thought. Twenty. years. until. I. die. Going backwards in time, twenty years puts me at age 35, in 1994. So the amount of time that has past between 1994 and now is the same as how much time I have until I’m 75–and that’s if I’m lucky. I don’t eat right–I love my comfort foods way too much, and I smoke. Not heavily, but I still indulge in this killer habit, knowing it will probably spell my early demise. If I don’t quit smoking and don’t change my eating habits, I will be lucky to make it to 75.

Let’s say I actually live to be 80. That’s only 25 years from now: the same time forwards from today as going backwards to age 30, in 1989. That’s only one year shy of the 1990s, folks, and the 90s don’t seem that far in the past to me, no sirree. Not like the ’70s seemed remote and distant to me when I was living in the ’90s. But I was younger then and time stretched and yawned forward and back in both directions. Now it seems compressed and speeds up faster every year. Ever notice how the older you get, the time seems to speed up? When I was 10 or 15, a decade seemed like an eon. Now a decade seems like a year did back then. Maybe even less than that.

If by some fluke, I live to be 90, that’s the same amount of time going forward (35 years) as going back to 1979, when I was 20. Now that seems like a good chunk of time. 1979 seems like a pretty long time in the past. Disco wasn’t even dead yet. Jimmy Carter was still president. I was still a “minor.” I can get down with living another 35 years. But I don’t really want to live to be 90.

I wonder if all this thinking about God and religion and spirituality I’ve been doing lately has to do with realizing I’m getting up there and having to face my own mortality. When you’re young, the rest of your life seems like a vast amount of time; you can always put off that thing you know you should do until later. Why rush things? But listen, kids. Life’s not as long as you think–because as you get older, the time will speed up. A lot.

There are some interesting theories as to why time seems to speed up as we age. One of them, described in this blog post in Scientific American, is because as a percentage of our age, a given chunk of time takes up a smaller and smaller percentage the older we get.

Here’s an interesting thought experiment. When you’re five, five years is a very long time–it’s your entire lifetime! To a fifty year old, five years is a mere 10% of the time they’ve lived, so it doesn’t seem like much. What is 10% of a five year old’s life? Six months! So six months to a five year old is perceived the same way as five years is perceived by a fifty year old! You can have a lot of fun playing with the numbers this way. When I was 35, twenty years seemed like a very long time–because it was more than 50% of the time I’d lived. At my current age, twenty years is just a little more than a third of the time I’ve been alive, so it seems that much shorter. My perception of time passing is such that thirty years is roughly the same as 20 years was to me then. And it will continue to get worse until the day I finally shuck off this mortal coil.

14 thoughts on “I am going to die.

  1. According to Wikipedia, there are five people still alive who were born in the 1800s, which means they are all at least 115 years old. Also according to Wikipedia, the oldest verified age that anyone has ever lived to was 122 years, 164 days.

    I am a little past middle age… that is, if I make it to 122 years.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Other than the stress of responsibilities into adulthood, lack of free time, and fewer memorable events (I read the article), the biological clock does slow down. Exposure rates (much like frame rates in film) depends on metabolism, and will seem to speed up as our conscious brains aren’t running as fast without manual exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Spiritually facing one’s own mortality can be intense. One thinks of eternity and hopefully reaches out to God. The bible says we are like grass. Here one day and gone the next.
    37:2 Psalm For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

    I am surprised to have lived as long as I have. I did not expect to live to be middle aged and was told in 2008, that I’d be dead from a heart problem within 18 months -2 years. I was nearly on oxygen then too. I still have the heart problem but I am still alive and not on oxygen. Oddly I can walk better then I used to but that could be new lung medicine.

    With me, I live with time being short, there are medical problems, I don’t see any resolution to and strong meds kicking me in the butt too. There is so many medical problems like COPD and the rest I am losing track of them all. Hours a day are dedicated to staying alive. I went to a conference where I had to sit up for 5 hours, and most people don’t know I’ll be spending most of today in bed and prepared by staying in bed the afternoon and evening before. I want to have a life of some kind while I am still here.

    Even the diabetes is taking a toll. Lipedema is a progressive illness, my late treatment probably saved me from being bedbound sooner, but it continues. However that is just one of my problems. I hope I can get more answers regarding the kidneys and other if I find my birth family. I am keeping myself out of the hospital but just barely with intense at home treatment–doctors, nurses, therapies etc.

    One thing about the narcs is they never think of their end or their demise. Mine acts like life will continue forever. Her abuse of the ill and incontinent and feeble, actually points to her having no idea that one day she will be in their place.

    I’ve had that thought about 20 years whizzing by and time speeding up. I do worry lately how I never had children and there will be no descendants. That is pain none of you want to feel. I really have to be invested in those promises of family in heaven because there was none here on earth.

    I think one reason I lived longer then thought is I had things I felt I had to get done and still do and had a husband who I loved very much to keep me around. I am also a “fighter”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are a fighter and I think you are so strong to face everything you do with so much courage. I feel for you, having the kinds of serious medical problems you do and getting no support or sympathy from your FOO. It’s unconscionable.
      I have certainly noticed the way narcs don’t fear death. My MN sperm donor always talked about wanting to die and seemed to have no fear of it at all. He always threatened suicide (I finally learned this was manipulation and he will probably never kill himself). My MN egg donor thinks she will never die or even get sick. When she has been sick she downplays it like it’s nothing at all. She is in her 80s but acts like she thinks she’s still 50. She never talks about anything deep, ever, and this includes talking about death. She is the most shallow person I have ever known. I never know what she is thinking about because she never shares anything personal with me. She also has no respect for the dying. I will never forget the day when I was about 6 or 7 and my grandmother (her mother) was in the hospital dying, and all my mother could talk about was how much she stank and how much she wanted to get out of there.

      Like

    • All my grandparents lived into their 80s except for my maternal grandmother who died of a stroke at 58. Both my parents are still alive and in their 80s. They’re in fairly good health too.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.