Today is my 59th birthday, marking a milestone in life. The most obvious is that it begins the final year of the decade of my 50’s. However, it also marks my farewell to Middle Age.

Early on in my life as an adult, I somehow came upon the concept of dividing my life into 20-year segments. From birth through age 19 were my “childhood/youth” years. Ages 20-39 were my “young adulthood” years. Then came 40-59, which I considered “Middle Age” years. That is where I am now, at the tail end.

After that would come my “Old Age” from ages 60-79. Anything beyond that, I gave the title of my “Overtime” years. Anything at 80+ would be considered a bonus.

Per the infoplease.com website, life expectancy for a white American male born in 1960 (I was 1961) was age 67.4 years. American white males born a decade later in 1970 had only increased their life spans up to 68 years of age. (Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Reports. Web:www.cdc.gov/nchs.)

However, advances in medicine and technology have extended my projected life span. A July 2010 article by Emily Brandon at US News & World Report titled “Predicting Your Own Life Expectancy” explained as follows:

Life expectancy also changes throughout your lifetime. A 50-year-old man born on July 1, 1960 currently has a life expectancy of 81, according to the SSA’s new life expectancy calculator, released last week. Once he makes it to age 67 his live expectancy grows to 84.4 years and if he hits 70 the average life expectancy is 85.3 years.”

Brandon also noted that factors such as “your current health, lifestyle, and family history” all help determine our individual final outcomes.

Thomas Perls at the website livingto100.com has a detailed survey that you can take that encompasses all relevant areas of your current life and lifestyle as well as your family history. I took his survey, which resulted in a life expectancy for myself based on my current circumstances and habits to age 75. I could conceivably improve on that by at least a handful of years if I were to make some serious changes in diet and exercise.

Assuming Perls is correct and that I do not fall victim to some unseen misfortune such as an accident or homicide, then I have around 16 or so years remaining. I remember 16 years ago, which would have been 2004. Doesn’t seem all that long ago.

It’s probably best not to dwell on all of that finality at this point. But it’s something that is out there now. When I hit my 40’s, I was able to tell myself that I still had half of my life to live. Hitting my 50’s even, I could still say that I had three decades ahead. It’s getting a bit harder now to make the numbers look good.

In any event, it’s time for 59. The final year in my 50’s coming up. Hey, I still get this one more, right? So, I got that going for me, which is nice. And then another entire decade of my 60’s will begin. Anything beyond that, I’ll deal with when the time comes. Hope I’m still around to write about hitting my 70’s a decade from now. Who knows what they may come up with by then?

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