How Old Are You?


By Jayaram V

People celebrate birthdays and new year days. They eagerly wait for annual events like festivals and anniversaries. A twenty year old believes that he or she is special and can make a difference to the world. Youngsters usually tend to stereotype older people and consider them outdated or irrelevant. In many countries seniority and experience do not get due importance. There is even a fallacy that older people are difficult to control, are less motivated, and do not learn quickly. If you live in India, by the time you reach your mid 30s you will be used to being addressed as an uncle or auntie, even by those who may be just a few years younger or older than you. If you are in your fifties or sixties, you will most likely feel a growing alienation between you and the world around you. That feeling keeps increasing as you age further.

Perceptions matter. If you change your perceptions, your thinking and outlook will also change. For example, measuring our lives in years somehow blinds us to the reality of how precious our lives and time are. Instead, think for a while your life in terms of days, and see how you will have a different perspective.

For example, do you know the difference in age in terms of days between a 20 year old person and a 30 year old person? It is about 3,650 days. Double it, and you get the difference in age between a 20 year old person and a 40 year old person. Think, how 7,000 or so days make so much difference in a person's thinking and feeling towards others. At the age of 20 you feel young and energetic. By 40, you might have seen it all and know where you stand. Is it also not strange that in that same time, the world also begins to think about you differently and treat you differently? In just 7000 days, life changes for you forever. In another 7000 days, you will be at 60 and thinking of your retirement. None of your friends probably know how you were at 20.

Thinking of your age in days, changes your perspective and makes you value your life. Do another math. Consider that your expected lifespan is about 90 years. Multiply that with 365. You will get 32,850 days. It is your expected lifespan in days. Deduct from it the number of years you have already spent. Say for example, if your age is 30, deduct 10,950 days (30 X 365) from it. The balance 21,900 will be your remaining life in days. That is all you got to spend. Whether you are rich or poor, failure or a success, it is all you get at that age, which will keep decreasing by day but will never increase. At the most, if you are lucky, you may get a bonus of another 4000 days by longivity. How should you spend that time? The following table shows how many days are left in the life of a person at different age levels, assuming that the life span is 90 years.

Expected Age Remainig Age At Diff. Lifespans
Current Age, Yrs Current Age, Days At 90 yr At 80yrs At 70yrs
90 32,850 0 0 0
60 21,900 10,950 7,300 3,650
50 18,250 14,600 10,950 7,300
40 14,600 18,250 14,600 10,950
30 10,950 21,900 18,250 14,600
20 7,300 25,550 21,900 18,250

Thinking about your life in terms of days adds perspective. It makes you look at your life differently and spend your days wisely. Imagine that you are left with just 5000 days to live, that is roughly about 13-14 years. What should you do? Should you still worry about that extra million dollars you were hoping to make from a business deal or review your life and do something that makes your life worth living or more pleasant? Each day counts. It is what one should learn at an early age. 30,000 days will just come and go and life rolls by. They say that submarine probes from the earth will land on Titan and IO, the moons of Saturn and Jupiter, sometime in 2040's. How many of us would be alive until then? Many people who are alive today will miss that landing and all the excitement. Each day is precious. Many people learn this lesson very late in their lives. The days that are gone are gone forever. It is therefore time you review your priorities and think about your life differently.