Looking at age as a percentage of your available life lived

I'm not sure if I think about the shortness of life more than most people, or if it's simply natural to think often about how temporary our situation here is. But in any case, I spend a fair bit of time thinking about the shortness of life.

But for as much as I have gratitude for each day, I've learned also that always acting in a way that assumes "life is short" can lead to it's own set of woes as the result of an unwillingness to delay gratification.

What happens is we tend to have a number in our minds regarding when we think our time is going to expire. Maybe for you it's 50 because that's when your father had a heart attack. For someone else it might be 95 because that's how old their grandfather lived to. Maybe someone constantly thinks death is knocking at their door because tragedy has visited them. 

The primary problem with thinking about age in terms of years though is that we don't actually know our expiration date. So we're basically working on an equation with an assumed value that's almost certain to be incorrect.

So when we say we're 20 or 40 or 60 years old, it also comes along with the built in assumptions we have about our life expectancy. Instead, I think it's better to think of age as a percentage of our available life lived.

What percent old are you?

This question makes it instantly clear you really don't have any idea how old you are. I'm 39 years old, but wth the rate of technical advances combined with the opportunity for sudden death to befall someone, I could actually either be 99% old or I could be 33% old. 

The thing is, only the dying know how old they are. And sadly, sometimes a 20 year old is older than a 40 year old when we look at age as a percentage of our available life lived.

What I like about thinking about age in this way though is that for me it's a good way to have both extreme gratitude for the present, while it also motivates me to put in the time, effort and work to optimize the things that need optimization even if it means I'm going to be a little less happy or there might be a little more struggle in the immediate future.

After all, if I end up having 60% more life here I want to optimize for it!

For me, thinking of age as a percentage of life, is a good way to find balance when there can be opposing forces at play.

So....what percent old are you?

I know. I don't have any idea either. We're all X%.