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Answer me this #25: How long?

Do you ever wonder what percentage of your life is behind you and what percentage of your life is ahead of you?

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If you were to hazard a guess, what would those percentages be?

Does this line of questioning creep you out?

Image: Salvatore Vuono /

Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page, and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

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17 Responses

  1. Considering that people on my mother’s side tend to live long (90s) and people on the dad’s side tend to die earlier (70s) … I figure 86 is a good estimate. So I’m about 46% through my life. That means I have 54% percent left to save and plan for my children’s futures.
    It doesn’t creep me out to think about life and death. Aging and dying are natural – circle of life and all that stuff. When you have children, it’s important to plan for the future. And when Autism is in the mix, it’s imperative.
    I got to tell you, I’m enjoying this 54% much more than I did the 46%. Every decade gets better 🙂

  2. It doesn’t creep me out, but my mother is strangely bothered when I refer to myself as “approaching middle age.” (I’m 37.)

    She says, You are *nowhere near* middle age!

    I say, How long, exactly, are you expecting me to live?

    I think it has more to do with her own fear of mortality than anything else. Also, she isn’t a fan of “getting old”; I keep telling her it is better than the alternative, but she doesn’t listen.

    In any case, people in my family – on both sides – tend to live long after their mental faculties have left them. Some of the men die younger – my grandfather was 55, but he died of complications from diabetes; two great-grandfathers were in their eighties – but I can’t think of a relative on either side of my family in the last 25 years or so who died from “natural causes” (I have a cousin who had a terminal genetic condition, another who was an addict, etc., but I am not counting them) at younger than 90. So if I live to be 90 I am 41% of the way through my life. And I’m okay with that. xo

  3. ‎”When you are forty, half of you belongs to the past… And when you are seventy, nearly all of you.” — Jean Anouilh Maybe that should be stretched a bit as we live a bit longer than we did 40 years ago when Anouilh said it. Still I really don’t expect to be around for another 70 years, so I’ll offer another Anouilh quote: “Mais je veux profiter de mes dernières années et rire un peu. J’ai cru pendant soixante ans qu’il fallait prendre la vie au sérieux. C’est beaucoup trop.” — Jean Anouilh (But I want to benefit from my last years and laugh a little. I thought for sixty years I had to take life seriously. It’s more than enough.)

  4. Turning 50 freaked me out. Fifteen years earlier, I was a youthful 35. Fifteen years from now I’ll be a 65 year old senior citizen… if I’m still alive!

  5. Based on family longevity…hmm…well my mom will be 73 next week. My dad died when he was 70. My maternal grandfather died when he was 47. My maternal grandmother died at age 85. My paternal grandmother died at age 84. My paternal grandfather died at age 98.

    I’m probably at less than half of my final age, but I’m creeping up pretty quickly.

    And no, this doesn’t creep me out – as you might be able to tell, elderly people have always been part of my life. I never thought I’d live past 35 anyway.

  6. Talking about life and death doesn’t bother me at all. Given average life spans on both sides of my families, I would guess I have between 52 to 54% of my life left.

  7. I wouldn’t say I’m creeped out but since I tend to fall on the side of worrier I can’t say I am feeling warm and cozy thinking about this.

    I an hoping that I have only used up about 30% of my life. I still have a lot to do and a lot to see.

  8. Yes, a bit creepy to think about–Id like to say I have 75% left ahead of me 🙂 I remember being upset to turn 25 because I was an “antique” 🙂 Im well past 25 now…

  9. Yes, it freaks me the HELL out. 🙂 Always has. I’m a “live no matter what” sort of person. Recently someone at work said, “If I could have a choice b/n having horrible parents and living a long life and having fabulous parents and dying at 10, I’d choose the latter.” They said this after saying Caylee Anthony was probably better off now than when she was alive. They were shocked and horrified that I would choose the horrible parents and life. I like to make my life what it is no matter what shits choose to mess it up and I LOVE living it. OK.. so complete rant there, but you touched a hot spot with me. 😉

  10. I have to admit, this line of questions does stress me out a bit. After reading some sad news recently on LFCA I’ve contemplating my mortality and the fact that I might die suddenly any day. It’s hard to stomach. I hope I have many more years to live but who knows?

  11. It is a little bit creepy. Only slightly creepier than the first time I was with my parents when they asked for the Senior Citizen discount at Taco Bell. THAT made me feel old.

    It is strange to feel that I am approaching 40, which I do consider an average ‘middle age.’ I don’t think I would want to live much past 80. It depends on how well Skeeter wants to take care of his Mama in 40 years!

  12. Great question! No idea what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that each and every day life gets better and better. I know exactly how many years are behind me and I can only hope that I am blessed with many more years ahead. Life is great! Your question doesn’t creep me out, just gets me thinking. 🙂

  13. Given that I believe I am going to have a long long (and long) life, I think at my age I have seen about 40 percent of my life already (numerically speaking).

    And of course, this is a creepy question. Tentacles were shooting out from your post title as soon as I started to type a response to it.

  14. wow, I thought about this quite a bit…and I believe at 41 that half my life is gone…, that 80 is something that looks attainable and “enough”…I want to be a grandma by then and happy and ready to go gently, easily….now can we talk about something else???? 😉

  15. What an interesting question Lori! I would like to believe that at 36 that I am less than 50% through my lifetime here on Earth. However, as others have said, you never know what day could be your last. I too would love to reach a ripe old age and to see my children’s children. Most of my elderly family members lived into their 80’s and I would love to see that decade or even make it to my 90’s.

    These kinds of questions don’t creepy me out, though they thinking about the answer is bittersweet for me.

    How about you? You posed such a great question, but you didn’t share your thoughts/answer… 😉

    1. OK. I’ll take you up on that, Kathy.

      When Tessa was a baby I took her to hospice training. I wanted to abide with dying people and their families. Part of the training of getting comfortable about being around death and being able to talk about it was imagining our own death.

      I pegged mine at 77. At the time I was rather sickly, and also content to say I was mid-life.

      But if you ask me now, I *also* think I’m midlife, all these years later! Fortunately, I’m also healthier.

      So maybe 51-49. And no, I’m not too creeped out by the question. But I might be when the numbers are more like 81-19


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