How did I ever live so long?

I’m 63 today, and it may sound strange, but I never expected to live this long. That’s probably because I remember how old my grandparents seemed in their sixties. My Grandpa Carter died a few months after his retirement at age 65. But if you understand the history and statistics behind this issue, you will see where I’m coming from.

In my research for my book Find Your Reason To Be Here I wrote:

What else is unique about the boomer generation?

In the past one hundred years, we have witnessed the greatest increase in life expectancy and longevity in human history. In 1935, when Social Security became a government program and established the retirement age at 65, the life expectancy for American men was 60 and for women, 64. Those born in the early twentieth century were not expected to live past age 65, and most didn’t. Life expectancy in the United States increased a full 20 years between 1930 and 2010. The average American today who lives to be age 65 is expected to survive well past 80. 

U.S. Life Expectancy at Birth, 1930–2010
Birth Year Both Sexes Male Female
2010 78.7 76.2 81.1
2000 77.0 74.3 79.7
1990 75.4 71.8 78.8
1980 73.7 70.0 77.4
1970 70.8 67.1 74.7
1960 69.7 66.6 73.1
1950 68.2 65.6 71.1
1940 62.9 60.8 65.2
1930 59.7 58.1 61.6
(Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Reports, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs)

 It is difficult for most of us to fully comprehend how much the average life span has increased, even just in our own lifetime. It may help to recall how young our grandparents were when they died.

So here I am, wondering in amazement at my accomplishment. With ever improving health information, education and health care I shall go on until who knows when….

 “Life after 50 or 60 is itself another country, as different as adolescence is from childhood, or as adulthood is from adolescence.”  — Gloria Steinem

Happy Birthday to ME

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10 thoughts on “How did I ever live so long?

  1. My grandparents were all notoriously long-lived. On my dad’s side, well past their 80’s. Grandma was 96! I’m right behind you. 63 is looming. So far, so good.

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    • Hi Diane! After writing this piece I realized that my grandparents lived to their 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s. Must also be lifestyle choices, although my Grandma who died at 92 loved to drink beer!

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  2. Pingback: Here's what's on Boomer minds these days - Carol Cassara

  3. The expected life span of 80 in the US is incorrect. Predicted & actual life span varies by state (or territory), it also varies by race. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_and_territories_by_life_expectancy
    Shortest life span is American Samoa, 73.4, next is Mississippi at at 73.5, then West Virginia at 75.4. For the years reviewed, Hawaiians had the longest life span at 81.3, followed by Minnesota. Obesity is expected to shorten life spans (particularly childhood obesity), as is lack of access to health care.

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