Life is Shorter Than You Thought

If the average human lifespan was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

by Jonathan Hilton  Day 31

824608195_6804595553_940581fe4e_xlargePerception has a lot to do with the way that we live.  We all walk through life with no real idea when the game is going to be over and our flame will be snuffed out.

I think that when you are young you don’t often think about death too much because in all likelihood you are going to have many years before that becomes relevant to you. Yet there is no way of knowing.

 I would like to think that I would not change very much because since I am already over that span, I think each day would be just awesome.  I feel that way now.  But what might have changed earlier in life.

Would Life have Meant More?

There is no doubt that the time that we spend growing up or finding ourselves would have to be somewhat shorter.  I know of others who are kind of like me, and found that there is a bit of skill to playing this game called life and how you treat others counts.

live like ur dieing I doubt that people would put off the experience of becoming parents, because there is no time to put it off to.  Those days in your twenties now when you can spend time just getting wasted and letting everything take care of itself would have to be reduced or maybe even eliminated.  The days that you do have would be more special.

 I know this because I can feel it myself right now, as you look ahead and realize how fragile life is and that yours could really be over any moment.  This realization becomes clearer and more imperative as each day passes.

 I think I would cherish each and every day as I aged through my thirties, making sure I was at peace with the world and at peace with myself.

Below is a video about The Oldest Man in Pilgrim Village.

Change in Education

Rather than continually groom us to be ready some day to contribute to society, I thing the system will have to be streamlined in order for those who are gifted and motivated to actually start to accomplish something as soon as they can.

Perhaps this thought should be taught?

Perhaps this thought should be taught?

Rather than be forced through a system that is outdated and antiquated, young people and parents would have a real motivation to find a purpose for their life twice as fast as they do now.  We would still need doctors, yet it would seem counter productive by using our current system, by the time they graduated, many would simply die.  People would have to rethink the cookie cutter education and brain washing we current perpetuate.

Would Conformity be Important

I wonder is people would worry about fitting in so much if lives were about half as long as they are now?  Personally, the feeling that I have developed over the past two years, that life is too short to worry about what somebody else thinks about me, would have occurred to me much earlier on in life.

Perhaps the whole enlightenment that many people experience in their 40′s would be moved up because what would be the point of life, if we never realized there was a point to life?

On the other hand, conformity may be your best chance to thrive and survive a bit longer.  Fitting in can fool a lot of people for a long time.

Wisdom at a Premium

Finally I think that wisdom and the thoughts that lead to an understanding of life, whether through the spoken word or through art would be non-existent   Even though many people are very intelligent, early in life, few of these have any understanding of the deeper questions in life.

dance_like_no_one_is_watching_by_eat_at_joes_56Who are you? What is heaven? Why is love important? How should you treat others?  I can’t say I am an expert in any of these questions, yet I can clearly state that they are things I contemplate now which I never even conceived of back before I turned 40.

Since this is my writing and I only have my experience to go by, I believe that the thoughts of the wise in this society where 40 was the average lifespan.

To conclude this little dream, I would simply state that the average lifespan is in the 70′s. You may be close to this or far away. It is your responsibility to yourself to decide how you will live your life.  I hope that whatever those decisions entail, family, friends  politics, law school, or whatever that you pursue them with all of the enthusiasm and vigor that you possibly can.

If the average human lifespan was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

Live like you were dyin’

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13 thoughts on “Life is Shorter Than You Thought”

  1. Wow…. 40 years… I don’t even know where to begin to answer this one. I’m going to live forever, aren’t I? I have plenty of time to live out each of my dreams? To live a full life three or four times over? To learn everything I want to know? To do everything I want to do? How can I prioritize? How can I fit everything in?

    ….

    I had a whole other paragraph typed out and just deleted it. You’ve stumped me on this one JD. 40 just isn’t long enough. I’m glad our life expectancy is almost double that now because I can’t fathom only living that long. I do understand the point is that we could pass away at any time and we need to appreciate every day. I do appreciate every day… I just want to appreciate every day for so much longer than 40 years.

    I think that’s why I deleted the paragraph I was trying to type. I went back to the beginning and tried to figure out how I would have lived my life differently if I had known I only was going to live to be 40, and other than skipping college, my life would have turned out about the same (I would have married younger and maybe had a few more kids already), but I’ve always put family ahead of work. I’ve known for several years the couple things I need to be happy. I don’t let the little stuff weigh me down… So, I think I’d be doing exactly what I am doing – appreciating every day, treating everything like an adventure, looking for the good in even the worst situations…

    1. One of your great characteristics as a person Matt is that you do look for the good. That is a gift and one that will serve you well in life. I think that we all, at times, take life for granted, it becomes something to get through rather than something to be enjoyed and to experience. I also strive to get the most out of each day and most days offer you something that you can see as a positive and learn something from. I have heard that days or things are never good or bad until the mind makes them so. I always hope my mind makes them good. Yet there are still times and situations where I fall short. Thanks for the comment and for reading and thinking. I have high hopes for the future of the world because of people like you Matt!

      1. Thank you! And, I have high hopes for the future because there are still people like you – challenging the rest of us to question and improve. And those of us who are paying attention strive to do just that.

  2. It is true that I think we would live our lives very differently in so many ways. I absolutely adore the song, Jon – never heard it before, wow! Thank you for yet another wonderful post.

    1. You are welcome Michelle, that song is a good one. Makes you think about how you live day to day and how that might be different if you knew you only had a finite amount of time! I am very grateful for the comment and the time you took to read this. :-)

  3. Because of my lungs, I never even had a 40 year life expectancy and so I often have the opposite problem of this post. I ask myself, “If I end up living 100 years, what would I do differently?” All of these things that you’ve listed, I embrace. I was offered schooling everywhere, but I just focused on the stuff that is important to me. I started my first company when I was 12 just because I wanted to be “doing”, not “preparing”. “Fitting in” is also something I’m just starting to practice, as I find myself more and more considering the possibility that I will live to see a fix. One instance is that I didn’t drink at 18 or 21 because I didn’t want to — it’s expensive, tasted not-great, and possible damaged my precious brain cells. But, if I’m gonna live another 80 years or even 10… it gets increasingly awkward at events to be the only one without a drink in hand. So now I sip at wine, but even that took practice for the explicit purpose of fitting in. I’m new to this “fitting in” stuff, and most people are patient as I learn.

    The deep questions are things that come along with being so close to death or new life, I think. When you get really close– face-to-face– with either of those concepts, it’s hard NOT to ask the deep questions, regardless of age or schooling. It would be nice if we could find a way to make people interested in those things without coming so close to big changes.

    To leave a comment that isn’t just all about me, haha, I’d also like to say that I think asking the reverse of this question is equally important. If you’re going to live to see the results of today in 100 years– what would you want to be doing today?

    Also– what a lovely hope to end your post on! I hope the same for you! :)

    1. That is an incredible story Rara. I love the reverse question. It is a good one because I believe in my mind that I will “obviously” live to be a hundred. Or live forever. :-) I think it is hard to tackle the questions of mortality and value of life and actions without that catalyst of near death or something significant because we crave safety in our lives.
      I am glad you shared your story, it tells me so much about you and I like that. First, I certainly hope that you are around for a very, very, very long time. Drinking. It seems such a silly thing to be such a big deal, but I know exactly what you mean. Sipping a glass of wine is better than enduring the questions. I personally have nothing against drinking and when I was young, I drank a lot in college. I let go of that in my late 20′s because I just didn’t see the value in that activity. Yet I endured a lot of questions from others, who could not understand. I do not think I am any better than anybody else, I just don’t like to drink. Occasionally I will enjoy a beer, but it will be one and it is usually once every two or three years. I am not sure why drinking is such a “must do” activity. Anyway, lets just say that I feel your pain, I have been out at social functions and had my non drinking be an issue for some. I have learned to live with it, I am interesting enough without it! Wow, now that was a lengthy response. Thank you so much for contributing and reading. I really am grateful that you share your thoughts here. I appreciate your experience because it is different from mine yet I can see a lot of the same lessons came to you in a different way than they came to me. I always find that fascinating. Thank you Rara!

      1. You’re so right about the safety catalyst. I suppose that’s why I hesitate to even ask people the deep questions when I know they haven’t considered them– it’s like breaking a shell, running around the playground saying that Santa isn’t real.

        I love that you feel like you will live forever! :D That is awesome! :) It’s a struggle for me to think even a year in advance. It’s not uncommon for me to coach things with, “If I’m still alive…”

        I also love that it seems we learned many of the same things in very different ways! :)

        The drinking thing is really odd. I mean, at the end of the day, it’s just a beverage. I’d much rather have a diet coke than a drink. Plus, I’m the least picky food-eater in the world, but I’m quite particular about my beverages. Even after I did learn to drink, I like very specific wines and very specific beer, and very specific mixed drinks… which of course aren’t available everywhere. It seems so strange that the culture says it’s better to sip on a beer you don’t like than a diet coke you love, or it’s better to spend $10 on a drink you don’t want, than be sober. I never drink enough to get drunk, though, so I’m always the sober one– it’s all so pointless. But it makes people feel better and more relaxed to see me holding a drink, so to that end… I do. I consider it “fitting in” practice, like wearing make up and knowing who Lady Gaga is. :)

        1. What do you mean, no Santa Claus? :-) I hear you on the drinking, it makes no sense to me either. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I know that you are quite a bit younger than me, so when, and I do mean when, you are fifteen years further down the line, you will notice that people accept more of your “quirks”, like not drinking, when I was 30 it was a big deal to people, but now it is just a mild difference to people. I am further removed from the lifestyle of the young where getting drunk is the main activity in a day. That has been my experience, I assume that in ten more years I will be able to walk on my hands through department stores and not get any complaints. I actually like Lady Gaga’s music a lot because her story is about understanding. She has at least pondered some of the deeper questions. :-)

          1. I had a whole response to your question in my mind, then I read the conversation between you and Rara, and I forgot everything I was going to say. haha.
            What I did think of is something I read in Conversations With God. God said that he made our bodies to last for centuries. When the author asks God why we die so young, God says that we don’t take care of our bodies. For example, we poison them with things that were never meant to go into the body like alcohol. When the author counters by pointing out that Jesus drank wine, God says, “Jesus wasn’t perfect.” :) Somehow this memory makes sense in response to your post and your conversation with Rara. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

          2. Thanks Kozo, I am kind of looking forward to writing that. I have been thinking about it for a long time. But have had reservations. I may write it and think it is awful and do something else, but I hope not. :-) I have been having this conversation for a lot of years, and I need to put it down in writing. thank you Kozo for writing, reading and taking the time to comment. I always get something positive from your comments my friend. Thank you Kozo for all you do!

  4. I’d want to travel all around the world, as fast as possible. That way I know which place I like best and I can live there until the very ‘old’ age of 40. Plus, NO retirement plans! Woohoo! Who needs to save up for when you’re 60? Nobody. We could retire from work at 30. Early twenties if we wanted.

    1. That sounds like the best plan yet. Really fast trip around the globe. I am thinking I would pick a nice climate, friendly people with a lot of fun things to do. I am glad this isn’t the case because I would be in trouble right now!! Thanks for the comment my favorite commenter, as always I see your MFE moniker and I feel happy immediately. :-)

Let me know your thoughts.