How to calculate your life expectancy


Sometimes I get inspired to write things purely (though rarely) through my own thought processes.  Sometimes it will be a trigger in my environment.  Often it is a phrase that someone drops into a comment on my blog, or a counter comment to my comment somewhere else.


Here’s the trigger for today’s rant. 


I recently wrote about my new summer job as a postal worker.  Comments were flying back and forth and in the midst of it all I used the phrase mid-life crisis.  The Lilac Penguin, bless her soul, responded with concern regarding my life expectancy.  Here it is:

You need to call it a quarter or a third life crisis… Mid would imply you are not going to make it to 76… Let’s shoot for at least 114…


Sidebar:  Definitions of other things.  Lilac Penguin.  Let’s leave the penguin alone.  I think everyone knows what a penguin is.  But what is LILAC?  Try and keep up here.  In my world there are 10 colours.  Do you remember Roy G. Biv from school – plus black, white and brown.  Everything else is just a shade of these or a mix of these.  Lilac is a flower.  Apricot is a fruit.  Don’t even get my started on taupe.  Beige is a bad suit that should be burned or donated to goodwill (anonymously in the dead of the night).  No discussion will be held on this matter.  Artists who wish to protest will be referred to Picasso’s grasp on reality and asked to speak to the hand.


Back to the show. 


With my wife studying to be a high school English teacher verbal precision is a necessary survival tool for me.  And as a physics major myself, I must offer my scientific analysis of the term mid-life.  I don’t want this to seem like I’m picking on the penguin because she was simply the poor soul who lit my fuse.  And penguins are naturally shy timid creatures and I don’t want to scare her away. 


So here goes.  I am 38 years old.  Chronologically, if nothing else.  If mid-life was a point and I was at it, then the penguin’s argument would be ever so slightly wrong mathematically.  Mid would imply you are not going to make it to 76… If, at 38, I was at the exact mid point of my life then I would live to be exactly 76. 


But, mid-life by my interpretation is a phase of life, not a point. 


The term mid-life implies that there must be other parts.  And as it is the mid part, there must be an earlier part and a latter part as a bare minimum.  Let us assume then that there are 3 parts, and that these parts are equal in duration, if not quality.  I have already professed to currently exist in the mid portion. 


If I am at the end of “mid” and about to leave this portion in favour of the latter period, I would have a life expectancy of approximately 57 years.  Mathematically it’s simple.  If I’m at the end of the second period of a three period life, then two thirds equals 38.  It is grade school mathematics to calculate three thirds when you know two thirds.  The answer is 57.  This finds scientific support from my genealogy, by virtue of the fact that my father died at 62 and both of his parents died before they were 70.


But if I am at the beginning of the “mid” portion then I could conceivably make it to 114.  Again, mathematically if one third is 38, then three thirds would be 114.  This option has as much scientific support through family history as the original.  My mother at 68 has been medically assessed with the body of a 56 year old.  Her father was almost 80 when he died and her mother was 99 (she was the only one of 5 siblings to not reach 100).


If each phase was given a name and a definition here is how I would lay it out:

            Beginning     Juvenile or Growing or Maturing

            Middle          Living or Enjoying or Experiencing

            End              Resting or Basking or Reminiscing


Using those definitions, I have possibly not yet entered the middle phase, which augers well for an innings comfortably into triple digits.  Especially if hearing the phrase “when are you going to grow up” is any indicator of maturity yet to come.


And based on the brief family history I should live to between 57 and 114, unless I stand too close to Rocky and his Karmic Black Hole in a thunderstorm, and take a hit from a stray lightning bolt meant for him.


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53 Responses to How to calculate your life expectancy

  1. Unknown says:

    Getting caught up on some reads . . . been away and really busy lately. Have a great week~ Al

  2. Unknown says:

    Ah…it just feels right to be back on the KBH radar screen. And I must say that I feel so much safer with the black O.I. band covering my eyes. It was wierd, but last night I was walking through the house and my wife could not see me.Another approach could be mean, median, and mode from simple statistics. But then again, maybe not. How about a mountain climbing analogy? No, that’s too involved, too. Maybe just a reference to mid-point vs. mid-life. I just realized that I am well past the mid-point (statistically speaking) and yet, I remain in mid-life. Thanks BIGGY. I think that I should rest and reminisce now.

  3. a says:

    earlier this year, it seemed to be a common theme in health magazines and on some morning news shows that 50 is the new 30. so, really that makes you like 18, which if i didn’t know better would seem just about right. hey, that makes me almost 11, which is like, you know, really kewl!

  4. Zed says:

    Are they exact thirds? Perhaps the visual of a box plot would help. Or maybe a Bell Curve? Let’s start working statistics here–confidence intervals, perhaps …BTW, the sidebar was my favorite part.

  5. Unknown says:

    If you break your life up into 100ths instead of 3rds, then assuming a 78 year life expectancy, you’re only 29 100ths old. And that doesn’t sound very old to me.Bothced

  6. Courtney says:

    Hey, thanks for the ‘oreo pie’ mention on Bob’s site. You are welcome to abduct me and tattoo me whenever you’d like.(The only reason I don’t have any tattoos right now is because I’m a big wuss.)

  7. Unknown says:

    I think if I were to take the short route to a long answer, I would have to say that I am mostly dead.

  8. Steven says:

    I like your age/maturity definitions. If you basw your life on the number of years that you’ve been sucking up the limited amount of atmosphere that we all share, where do you end up? At my age, 33 by the way, I should be somewhere in the mass of people who don’t like their jobs, are thinking about how boring their spouces are, as apposed to their co-workers, thinking about escaping the rut that their lives have become. But its a good thing that you have posted these definintions because now I can show this to my wife and say "Look honney, I’m supost to act like this because I’m really at the Beggining Stage of my life." So, where does that leave me? Should I look forward to reaching the "Middle Stage", or just stay as I am a juvenile with lucid moments of maturity? Or do I hope that I some day will get tired of being myself and pull myself up to the next phase for an extended period of time and enter the mid-life?By the way, I would like to be in the "club", the Ocularus Incognitus crew, "You will know us by our Hearts". I was wondering how or to whom I should send the nessicary picture to? I will be seeing "Nik" this weekend so if I don’t get to it until then please don’t close the members list.Have a graet day from those of us on top.

  9. Tanilan says:

    I love your definition! It’s just life…enjoy it.

  10. Tom Stormcrowe says:

    This post applies to me as long as my wife doesn’t shoot me out of a cannon like she threatened to over at Fatty’s!:-O Otherwise I have it on good authority I’ll live to 129, and then be shot by the jealous boyfriend of a 19 year ol woman:-D

  11. Tom Stormcrowe says:

    this was foretold by a gypsy fortuneteller and you know their accuracy!::GRIN::

  12. THEODORE says:

    Quotes:"At sixteen I was stupid, confused and indecisive. At twenty-five I was wise, self-confident, prepossessing and assertive. At forty-five I am stupid, confused, insecure and indecisive. Who would have supposed that maturity is only a short break in adolescence?" –Jules Feiffer"Youth is when you’re allowed to stay up late on New Year’s Eve. Middle age is when you’re forced to." –Bill Vaughn"Youth is a wonderful thing. What a crime to waste it on children."–George Bernard Shaw

  13. Laura says:

    I was looking at my blog, feeling kind of cobalt over the fact I hadn’t gotten any comments from the my favorite postal male living in the southern hemisphere: Mad Max Baloo, (thanks for telling me how to spell the name correctly…) since he sent me off to my room (You need to take diplomacy lessons from Mumo by the way…). I arrive here and WOW, i have my own sidebar and link and everything!!!Pause for Sally Fields moment…I can understand your mystification in regards to LILAC. Between that, the age mid thing and the goat naming dilemma I have caused you in the last 10 days, I’m worried. Let me tackle some matters to help you.Lilac is a deciduous bush. I am partial to the deeper violet blue colored blossoms on the taller Hungry variety.Black and white are not colors. Black (i think…) is the absorption of all spectrum light waves, while white is the reflection. You owned a beige suit once didn’t you…‘Picasso’s grasp on reality’ — His reality was fine, his paintings where cubistic… A better reference for the sidebar is Dali if your looking for the ‘off your rocker’ artist.I am sort of timid… I guess…Did you know I went to an art college?Apricots are my favorite fruit; Patterson’s; dried…YUMMY.This is not a discussion, it’s a monologue…And finally, I belie the correct phrase would be ‘Talk to the wing…’If you need anything else handled to brighten your world, let me know… Glad I can help you outPeng

  14. Unknown says:

    I have to take a nap now.

  15. Kelly says:

    Mike,If I make mistakes in typing this it’s because of that black bar across my eyes.Thanks so much for the invitation and then for adding me to the O.I. !!! Since my age would calculate to about 8 this works out really well. I still have that "need to fit in" thing going. Does this mean it will last well into the teen years and on through the 20s? I hope not. Don’t want to do THOSE years again!Kelly

  16. BIg Mike In Oz says:

    Rocky – you were never off the radar, you just weren’t responding to the baits I was putting out there. Did you even see the chicken joke?? Your true age has nothing to do with your chronological circumstances. You have complete control. You’re only as old as the person you feel (my wife is 33).nikared – if I’m 18 and you’re 11, that explains a lot. An awful lot. I’ll have to regrow the mullet.Caloi – You must have missed my post where I recently said I was on summer break from university. Call me in February if you want anything scientific dealt with.Botched – What kind of maths was that. 100ths is percent. If I’m 38 and 78 is the end then I’m 48.7. Now I feel better. Thanks.Courtney-O – I’m doing another tattoo run on Friday.Rocky – There, there Rocky, you’re not "nearly dead". You just look that way in the mirror.TheEvilTwin – 33 is a funny age. My wife and I had our toughest time then and for some reason I gave up my job with the largest phone company in the country and earning above the national average after 15 years. Email address is at the bottom of the OI entry. Click the link in the top right of my blog home page.Celtp2005 – If you’re smiling, I’ve succeeded.Stormy – she emailed me recently asking if I could loan her some lengths of steel pipe. I sent them surface mail so you’ve got a while.TigerlilyHobbit – I think that’s close to more books than I’ve read.Peng – I sent you to your room for you own good. You 2 were going to hurt each other for sure. You didn’t think I cared, but now you’ve read this and you know the truth. I’m just a big cuddly Baloo. I never owned a beige suit. My dad did. A safari suit at that. Although as a 12 year old I did own a powder blue safari suit to match dads beige one. You sound a lot like my wife when you (and her) get your back up.MuMo – get back on the bike, you’re barely half done.MochaMommaTeacher – OI members don’t make mistakes. We just offer opportunities for fellow members to rip open our soft underbellies with their prodiguous wit and formidable vocabulary (fancy terms for sarcasm).

  17. Unknown says:

    Biological Sciences it’s OK to fudge the numbers. . . especially for comedic effect.BotchedP.S. I turned 35 this year and have really been bummed about it, especially as I’ve started putting on weight, and my rt knee has totally given out so I can barely even get up stairs.

  18. Unknown says:

    Biggy–I missed the chicken joke. I only recollect reading something about cabbage around my neck in order to get the goat to hang out with me at the O.I. convention. As far as the, "you’re only as old as the person you feel", is concerned, well, she is only two years my junior, and I am far more juvenile than she will ever be. That said, I have warned her vehemently that she is likely to spend a large portion of her golden years flying solo. If genetic history dictates my life span, taking the mortality age of my four nearest fathers, I should live to be a ripe 63.5 years of age. Even in the best case (if I were to somehow match my dad, 76 is the max. Either case my friend, would make me at this moment, mostly dead. Plus I have that KBH thing cookin’.Additionally, I like using "mostly dead" because it is a really funny line from the movie, The Princess Bride. There is another funny line in that movie about Australians. Vencino, the goofy little pseudo-intellectual Italian leader of a kidnapping band says in his treatise about the man in black, as he assumes that his origins are Australian says: "…and everyone knows that Australia is entirely populated with criminals." I guess you’d have to see the movie. It somehow seemed funnier then.

  19. BIg Mike In Oz says:

    Botched – that’s why I was struggling with one of my subjects involving bugs ‘n’ stuff. I was looking for real numbers to support my arguments. How silly of me. You gotta love the knees, they never lie. You can have all the plastic surgery you want but the creaking from the knees is a dead giveaway.Rocky – chicken jokes are the best. You were the first AND second paragraphs of a post here last weekend entitled I’m feeling a bit random. The cabbage was just for the group photo. I doubt we could make the goat play with you for the whole afternoon. Don’t worry, you’ll make 100. The way modern science is, you’ll have your good 65 odd years, then 20 years like Christopher Reeve, then when you are ready to give up, your family will take you off the "Reeve machine" and plug you in to a "Terry Schaivo machine". Presto, another 20 years. And before you know it you’re 105. I’m off to hire the Princess Bride.

  20. Unknown says:

    Oh yea, the bit about lightning and such. Hmmm.

  21. cosmogrl says:

    If what Nikared said is true, than I guess I’m really like 14 or 13…. Is he really that young? Well, I think you’re only as old as you feel. I look quite a bit younger than I am, but I almost always feel like a juvenille. Hey, btw–I posted a really nice comment to your hero blog, but alas, I was having computer problems that day and it looks as if it didn’t get through. But I wanted to tell you that you are already hero to those that matter the most in your world. Nothing is more courageous than being a great husband and father—and you seem to have that down pretty good! *hugs*–Wen 🙂

  22. flooz says:

    read your whole blog today. While at work. Don’t know how long I can get away with that, but loved your stuff. Thanks for visiting my site. I’ll be back to keep an eye on yours.

  23. AO says:

    cosmo: of course i’m that young. btw, your comment did get through, it is just on the second page of comments…

  24. Fat Cyclist says:

    i assert that you are middle aged the moment you begin thinking about whether you are middle aged. i further assert that the moment you try to start splitting hairs about whether you are middle aged, you have commenced your midlife crisis.

  25. Unknown says:

    When exactly do we just get to SIT and relax? lol

  26. Unknown says:

    Fatty–Great. Thanks. A lot. I think I’ll buy a Porsche.Botched

  27. cosmogrl says:

    Nik—you beat me to the punch. Probably because you’re younger than me! HA! I think… may not be though….hmmmmm. Hard tellin not knowin. Guess I should check more carefully on comments—ditzi pregnant chick is the only excuse I have at present. :)–Wen

  28. BIg Mike In Oz says:

    Wen – I got your comment.floozerella – naughty, naughty… keep it up.fatty – your theory sounds too true to be true.mspigtoyou – on Christmas day… after the washing up is done.botched – nothing like a good German sports car to augment your manhood and confirm your mid-life crisis status.Wen – don’t worry. I got equal parts amazed and confused when my comments started spilling over to a second page. It makes me feel quite humble.

  29. AO says:

    oh, wth? was that payback for me skipping botched?

  30. Unknown says:

    >>>Even in the best case (if I were to somehow match my dad, 76 is the max. Either case my friend, would make me at this moment, mostly dead.Don’t worry, Rocky. To your friends, it will seem like you’ve stuck around for a hundred years.

  31. Stephen says:

    Dunno ’bout you buddy, but personally? I plan to live forever.So far, so good…s.

  32. Sue says:

    So, what if we have 7 phases in our life? And technically we do not going through our "mid life" until we are 55? And so this "mid Life" point, doesn’t make any sense. My grandmother had her "mid life" thingie when she was in her 30’s. And I think she’s well passed that "mid life" point.I enjoyed reading some of your entries. And congrats on becoming a highlight for MSN spaces.

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