10 Replies Latest reply on Dec 9, 2010 12:54 AM by Lilybee

    How Long I want to live?

    DrG
      The poll asked how long do I w ant to live after retirement?  I have retired, have emeritae status, and am still teaching.  So, I said "fifteen" years, since I am now 84.  Should I have given a "year" when I decide to "check  out?"  The hardest part about "retiring" is retiring from what?  Teaching?  Engagement in society? Enjoying friends and family?  It is a time when many variables intervene in your choices and the good thing is to have a good sense of humor and learn to take new journeys.  Anyone else think like I do?
        • Re: How Long I want to live?
          Sensei2001

          DrG, I'm surprised you haven't received more responses to this thread, since it strikes to the heart of several issues facing us as individuals and society.  I would be deeply disappointed if you and I are the only ones contemplating these issues.  My thinking on this subject has been recently reshaped by my genealogical research.  I have been able to research some branches of my ancestry back 40 generations or more.  I have traced about a dozen lines of my American ancestors 8 to 10 generations back ... and as I examined their lives some intriguing thoughts arose.

          For instance, other than those ancestors who were members of European nobility, the first members of my family ever to be treated by a physician or take prescription medicine were my grandparents.  Yet the average age at death of the males in my family for the past 10 generations has been 76.  It is 57 for the females, because of the number of women in my family who died within two years of giving birth to their last child.  Removing these from the database raises the average age at death of my female ancestors to 81 for the past 10 generations ... without any "healthcare" whatsoever!

          Only the last three generations of my ancestors have lived during the "Industrial Era".  My grandparents witnessed the change from the horse-and-buggy to the space age -- and told me more than once how deeply that affected them.  My grandparents were the first generation in my family who ever "retired".  My great-grandparents and all the generations before them worked full-time until just days or weeks prior to their deaths in most cases, while a couple of them suffered prolonged illness prior to death.  "Retirement" is a concept that has only become meaningful during the last 75 years ... and I have become increasingly suspicious of its benefits.

          Why do we, as a society, spend 1/3 of our income on healthcare?  The answer appears to be because we don't work hard enough or long enough anymore.  If we simply spent less of our time at leisure and ate less rich, fatty, chemical- and sugar-laden food, we would live just as long without destroying our ecnonomy in a futile effort to keep ourselves healthy!

          Now, with the costs of retirement and healthcare crippling our economy, we face a question that goes beyond "How long do I want to live after retirement?" to "How long will society ALLOW me to live unproductively?"  We are fast reaching the point where the plot of the novel Logan's Run may become a bitter reality!

          • Re: How Long I want to live?
            TroutBum
            DrG said...

                 
                      The hardest part about "retiring" is retiring from what? .........................It is a time when many variables intervene in your choices and the good thing is to have a good sense of humor and learn to take new journeys.  Anyone else think like I do?
                 
                            


            When I casually use the term "retirement" I'm referring to the time when I retire from my occupation. In reality I won't be retiring at all, but rather making an abrupt change into another - hopefully enjoyable and exciting - phase of life. So how long do I want to live after I make that change? Well, I want to live until I've experienced some of the things time or financial restraints kept me from experiencing earlier. I want to live as long as health holds out ....as long as the quality of life remains reasonably good... as long as I'm having fun and enjoying life. I guess I want to live until I die. For certain I don't want to live into a period when I'm only existing until I die.

            Sorry for the rambling. Maybe it would be most accurate to simply say that quality of life is much more important to me than my number of years I'm on earth. Yep, that's it.
              • Re: How Long I want to live?
                k5gcm07

                Well put.

                In another forum, I use,  "It has been an interesting life; I wonder what's next?" as my tag line. I have visions of being able to travel to several 'exotic' places after we reach ultimate retirement -- places like London, Athens, Constantinople, Jerusalem, Japan, Hong Kong, Mumbai and the list goes on....

                During my Air Force days, we lived in Europe for quite a while and saw about a third of what we should have, and 10% of what I would have liked to see. Now I want to see some parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and Asia. Hopefully we will be able to stay active enough, long enough to travel to several of these areas. We shall see in a couple of years (projected ultimate retirement date January 1, 1013)....

                • Re: How Long I want to live?
                  MKD
                  I'm reminded of a Woody Allen quote: "I don't want to achieve immortality through my good works, I want to achieve it by not dying!"
                  As for me, as long as I have my M & Ms (marbles and mobility), I want to remain on the planet.
                    • Re: How Long I want to live?
                      I would like to live as long as I am physically able to do most activities of daily living.  I do not think it would be worthwhile to spend the rest of my life in bed, for example.  The Dalai Lama said he was looking forward to death to see what lies beyond.
                      • Re: How Long I want to live?
                        LeslieT
                        MKD said...

                             
                                  I'm reminded of a Woody Allen quote: "I don't want to achieve immortality through my good works, I want to achieve it by not dying!"
                        As for me, as long as I have my M & Ms (marbles and mobility), I want to remain on the planet.
                             
                                        
                        I agree with this: I want to remain here to see and do; as long as I am as mobile and as mental as I am now. ;-)

                        Retirement to me means to transfer my energies. Reaching a balance between putting up with work and enjoying work, the tipping point is when I have a level of investing accomplished that will allow me to spend most of my time doing more of what I want than what I have to.  As a single parent, retirement means that I support only myself now, and choose to work, and at what level. Options.


                          • Re: How Long I want to live?
                            JerryD
                            Just read the latest AARP newspaper. They had an article by the CEO, I believe, that had the life expectancy according to your year of birth. I found it hard to believe that for those born in 1940 the life expectancy was 63.6 years. Seems very low (or is that I sure hope it is!). Heck, we weren't rich so one couldn't use the rich live longer argument but everybody I knew that was born closer to 1910-20 seemed to live well beyond their mid-70's or even 80.

                            They also stated that in the 20th Century life expectancy grew by almost 3 decades!
                        • Re: How Long I want to live?
                          Marite
                          I agree with you. I have been retired for four years and I have difficulties finding fulfilling activities during the days I am alone at home, and sometimes even the days I am with my partner. I don't want to live just waiting for the end of my life, but at times it feels like it. I used to love life and I wanted to enjoy it. Getting old is good in many ways the obvious one being alive. Like you said is not how long you live, but how you live.
                            • Re: How Long I want to live?
                              Lilybee
                              While I thoroughly enjoyed my career in education, I retired in 2006 because I found a new '-holicism' in art quilting.  How long do I want to live--as long as I can keep producing works of which I can be proud.  My father died at 80, my mom at 94, after a long period of dementia; so, I am probably destined to live as long.  My health is excellent right now, and I can do whatever I want.  But, if I am ever unable to take care of myself and my craft, I will check myself out--probably in 15 years.
                          • Re: How Long I want to live?
                            Don49
                            There are other variables that also must be considered, genetics, luck and wealth will allow one to choose varying paths in retirement. 

                            My mom  at 101, had no great wealth but has luck, tenacity, the  physical strength to scoot around in her wheelchair,a pleasant level of dementia,  doing word puzzles, and socializes in skilled nursing.  I feel I will be lucky to maintain my intellect and love of life as long as she has.

                            My in- laws both were professionals who after having several bouts with illness died in their early 80's. 

                            Dr G congratulations: Plan as I do I know I must deal with the unknown that  the fates have in store- staring at it with amusement,  responding with guile and courage.