Not long ago, I realised I was going to die. I didn’t know when, exactly, but I was sure it would be soon.
Australian entrepreneur Kerry Packer’s male antecedents had a history of coronary problems, and many died young.
He was no exception and succumbed at age 68 while still one of the wealthiest men in Australia.
He enjoyed life to the full and made a mark on Australian culture, communications and sport, but he still died relatively young.
Apple’s Steve Jobs was diagnosed with a pancreatic tumour in 2003 (age 48) and died of complications related to it in 2011, age 56.
A genius at driving out designs that people bought into, he too left large footprints throughout his life and surely would have achieved much more if he had another 20 years of good health.
Iconic actor Steve McQueen died after surgery to remove a tumour brought on by mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by asbestos that he believed he contracted during military service.
He was 50.
As my mum always says, “As long as you have your health…”
Your Life Expectancy
“Compared with their counterparts in 1881–1890, boys and girls born in 2011–2013 can expect to live around 33 and 34 years longer, respectively. In Australia, a boy born in 2011–2013 can expect to live to the age of 80.1 years and a girl would be expected to live to 84.3 years compared to 47.2 and 50.8 years, respectively, in 1881–1890.” The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
The corresponding number for males in the USA is 76, and in the UK it’s 79.
If you are 45 now in Australia and in good health, then your average life expectancy is 81.8 years (the overall stats include child mortality and early age deaths). Say 82 in round numbers.
So you’ve potentially got a long way to go.
Looked at this way, this whole concept of ‘your second act’ takes on a whole new lustre and the opportunity to live a fulfilling life well into your grandfather years is very real.
Building a lifestyle that precludes good physical and mental health is futile if you’re strapped to a gurney at age 50 with tubes hanging out of you.
I’d bet the farm you’d trade everything you own for another ten years – even one.
How can you possibly enjoy what you’ve achieved if you’re drugged to the gills with painkillers or watching every move you make and every bite you eat because of coronary problems?
It brings to mind that old line, “The operation was successful, but the patient died.”
Look after your health.
Go easy on yourself.
The alternative just isn’t worth it.