When you’ve only got 100 years to live

blogOld photo“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff that life is made of.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

Not one of us humans is guaranteed time.  When we’re born, we have no assurance that we will live for one year, 10, 25, or 100.

I bounced around the internet checking articles about the average life expectancy in the US.   Some sources say a baby born today could expect to live for 78.49 years; some say 78.7.   

Either way, the average time that new life has to spend in this world would be around 78 ½ years or so.  Compare that to 1930, when the average life expectancy was 59.85 years, and that’s quite a difference.  You might say, ‘We’ve come a long way, baby.’

Researchers can gather these statistics, but they’re only averages. For each person, the longevity of life is different.  There are no guarantees.  Some of us will have many, many years of life,  others may be tragically shortened, and there’s no way of knowing which will be your lot.

Seemingly healthy folks who eat nutritiously and exercise religiously can still drop dead from a heart attack at a young age, while someone who doesn’t necessarily adhere to healthy living might live to be in their 80’s or 90’s.  Go figure.

Recently, my husband and I attended a funeral service for a family friend/distant relative who was 99 years old when she died.  99 years.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to live for 99 years.

My own father lived to be 90; my father-in-law passed away at 93.  My dad, even though he enjoyed and loved all of us daughters and our families, often mentioned he was a little weary of living so long,  especially after my mother passed away. 

He missed his own family – wife, parents, brothers, and sister – who were all gone as well as his friends.   Only he remained in his generation of people and sometimes it felt lonely.

We talk, read, and discuss a lot about health now days,  promoting and embracing a desire to live a long life. But I say, how about living a life well-lived, no matter how long it is?

While at that recent memorial service, we listened to stories of this 99-year-old life — a wonderfully good long life, but not one without pain, difficulties, or hard work.

For some reason, we tend to believe a “good” life is one without sad times, difficult circumstances,  poor health, or troublesome problems.  I don’t think that’s true.  A good life is lived when we rise above those challenging times that come our way.

It’s when we identify and embrace our blessings amidst the trials and give thanks for all of them.  It’s when we love and are loved in return. 

It’s when what we do matters; we have purpose and meaning; and we make a difference in another’s life, no matter how small it seems.

And I think it’s when we walk through this life, regardless of how short or long it may be, hand-in-hand with a Savior, who always promises to be by our side and gives us assurance of an everlasting life to come with Him.

That’s the kind of life my parents, my in-laws, and that 99-year-old family friend lived.  And today, on this best day of the year, that’s the kind of life I want to live as well, making every day count.  Life is short, no matter how long we live, and we must make the most of it.

A song that was popular a few years ago reminds me of that.  It’s a song my son and I have always shared a fondness for and it’s the song he choose for our Mother-Son dance at his wedding.   If you have a few moments to spare, watch the YouTube video of this poignant song at the bottom of this post. 

What will you do with your ‘hundred years to live?’

“I want it said of me by those who knew me best, that I always plucked a thistle and planted a flower where I thought a flower would grow.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

8 responses

  1. What a beautiful song to dance to with your son!
    A church friend who served our church was taken to hospice on Monday. Her SIL is the only family she seems to have to look after her affairs now. SIL who lives out of town came to church on Sunday just seeking logistical help — like move her car. Of course, my husband helped. That has really affected him this week as she is only one year older than he is. A lot to ponder.


    • That song made me cry every time I listened to it BEFORE son chose it as our dance. The entire time we were dancing, I just kept telling Son to keep talking to me, so I wouldn’t cry. It worked! Your story of the church friend makes me wonder how many folks out there are in that same position with little or no help. Bless that SIL for coming to take care of her affairs and bless your husband for being such a willing servant!


  2. A friend of mine died two weeks ago. She would have been 106 today. She lived an amazing life of service. The kind of life you describe. It really isn’t the number of years we have but what we do with them. Thankful for the legacy in your family!


    • Yes, Reeling, you are so right – we do need to stop and ponder! Maybe it’s just being middle-aged or the beginning of another year, but this has really been on my heart. I don’t want to live life just “going through the motions.” Thanks for letting me know how much you liked this post. I always love seeing your comments! Stay warm, my friend!


  3. When you look back on old family photos of those who have passed on, it really makes life seem so very short. (My father-in-law is almost 91, and my mother-in-law is 86. We all dread the day when something happens to one of them, knowing that they’re so “attached”.)


    • I know what you mean, my grandparents, who are actually in this old family photo, died within 6 months of each other when they were in their 80’s. They had been married for 64 years, a long time to be ‘attached!’ 🙂


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