One of the data points I have seen repeated recently is that there has been a decline in life expectancy in the United States. If my memory serves me, it is most pronounced in white men. Since there are many factors involved in how long you live, it is not a statistic that worries me too much. It could simply be a case of the hippie generation reaching the age when their early experiments with drugs and alcohol can no longer be denied. It could be a genetic factor related to recent surges in immigration. It could be a fluke.
Like many statistical announcements we need to keep in mind that the average over a large population has no real relevance to you as an individual. If I live in a community of alcoholics and hear that the incidence of liver disease is skyrocketing I don’t worry for myself if I don’t drink. I might put more into trying to influence my friends but the numbers are meaningless because of my life choices.
So how long should we expect to live? One of the expressions that has been around for a long time is three-score and ten, or seventy years. I don’t know if it is in other cultures but it is found in the Bible. I have already achieved three-score and ten. That seems to be the basic promise given for life span. As one old gentleman said, “I am now living on borrowed time.”
The next is four-score. It is found in the same verse as the 70.
(Psa 90:10 KJV) The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.I am not sure what is involved in this strength but I am already half way between 70 and 80. If I make it to that we will go for 120.
(Gen 6:3 KJV) And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.This last one was given during the time when people had been living hundreds of years. I am not trying to announce promises or establish a doctrine of age but it is interesting.
My hope is that I will go the same way my dad went, in the middle of the night with no signs of stress. And I am ready. Any time, Lord.
homo unius libri
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