I turn 60 today. (But I hardly look a day over 59.)
I see turning 60 as a good thing. I think what it signifies is that I've transmogrified from an increasingly cranky, increasingly creaky, increasingly old- and worn-out-looking middle-aged guy to a really healthy, really energetic, really youthful-looking old guy. For a middle-aged guy I ain't all that, but for an old dude, I rock.
You can be pretty confident you'll make it through your first fifty years. Most people do (although there are, sadly, a few exceptions). But you can be pretty sure you won't make it through your second fifty years, because most people don't. There are exceptions there too. You just don't know when the axe is gonna fall, is all. I figure (being overly logical about it) that if I'm unlucky, I'll get another ten years; if I'm lucky, I'll get another thirty. So when I envision what's ahead, I refer to it as "the ten to thirty." That's how much longer I figure I have. Probably.
That's presuming I never visit England, where I would be hit by a bus.
My life expectancy at birth in 1957 was 66.4 years. For a male baby born today it's about 79 years, which is interesting because my life expectancy right now, according to one of those Internet life expectancy calculators, taking into account my age; sex; exercise habits; tobacco, alcohol and drug use; family history of disease; and social life, is virtually the same—78.8 years. Meaning that in 60 years I have managed to catch up to today's newborn.
In other ways, newborns are behind me; for instance, most newborns know very little about Photoshop.
Wait, wrong example...I know very little about Photoshop either.
The life expectancy calculator doesn't ask whether you could overcome the habit of a lifetime and look to the right to see if a bus is coming before you step into the street in the United Kingdom. That might lower my number.
Family history of disease is interesting. Despite its importance to us, it's something most people don't pay much attention to. I did learn recently that although both my paternal grandparents died of cancer, neither was an inheritable type—one was caused by environmental factors that no longer pertain and the other was a type that is now virtually 100% curable. That's both very sad to me and also good news, which is odd.
It's a good thing my life expectancy isn't 66.4 any more, that's for sure! Because I'm waiting for the X-T4, and I'm not sure six more years will get me there.
I'm getting more optimistic as I get older. Still, I'm not so optimistic that I am expecting to live to be 100. Centenarians are a fast-growing demographic; there were more than 53,000 of them in the U.S. in 2010, and about 316,000 in the world in 2012. But only one in every 1,000 centenarians reaches the age of 110, and in all of recorded history there are only between seven and 41 individuals (different authorities vary in their research, or their rigor) who have lived to be 115. Interestingly, a lot more people than that live to be 114, but die before their 115th birthday; eight of the last nine "oldest people in the world" in the Guinness Book of World Records assumed the lofty title when they were 114 and also died at before they reached 115. This is called the "rectangularization of the mortality curve," which is a highfalutin' way of saying that the graph line nosedives straight down toward the baseline, squaring off at the end. Scientists investigating this curious tendency have recently postulated that it has to do with an inbuilt limit on the number of times a cell can replicate itself. Unlike the entry-level Canon Rebel, which can replicate itself indefinitely.
If I'm going to live to be 114, though, I'm going to have to figure out how to make this blog appeal to younger readers.
You know, like 60-year-olds.
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Give Mike a Birthday present! (And thanks if you already did)
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Patrick Perez: "America's Finest News Source (tm) weighs in. Happy birthday, Mike!"
Oren Grad: "Clearly you need one of these now...."
Mike replies: What do you mean "need" one? Of course I still have one. Your fault, too.
But consider how appropriate my car just became...it's an Acura "ILX"....
Bahi: "Happy birthday–many happy returns! In college, I met an American who, a few days after we met, stepped in front of a red double-decker bus in London and was knocked over. He was fine (hardly a bruise) but the bus driver was probably never the same again. All he could say, over and over, was 'He just stepped right out in front of me! He never even looked! He just stepped out in front of me!' The American was, of course, looking quite carefully but in the wrong direction. Don’t let it put you off visiting, though. :-) "
Mike replies: Believe it or not, bus driver is one of the occupations with the highest stress level. Enormous responsibility, with potentially lethal consequences, but relatively little control. Someone can step in the way at any time and there might not be much they can do about it. Locomotive engineer, too, for the same reason.
James Weekes: "Happy Birthday. I exited my 60s last June and can say, with confidence, that it was my favorite decade in a life of good decades. Keep active, physically and mentally, and, in ten years, you will agree."
Anders Holt: "Gratulerer med dagen! :-) (Happy Birthday in Norwegian.) Looking forward to your next 60 years of life delivering this wonderful website and much more. All the best!"
Mike replies: That's the first time anyone's ever said Happy Birthday to me in Norwegian. Takk skal du ha, Anders. But given that "shelf" at age 114 I was talking about, I think I should only promise 54 more years. :-)
Seriously, thanks to everyone for the good wishes.