“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