How Long Will You Live? (A Lot Longer Than You Think. Now, Just Do It!)

It’s fascinating how much longer we all are living, although in this Time of COVID, lives are tragically being cut short by this awful virus.

When I was growing up, so many people made it to their 70s. Then more lived into their 80s. Now, how many people do we all know who are in their 90s? John Glenn’s wife, Annie, who passed on May 19, 2020, due to coronavirus complications, outlived him by four years to reach age 100!

At our first Intentional Life Planning Zoom overview webinar last month, we asked people to complete Step 1 of “Write, Open, Act: An Intentional Life Planning Workbook” at home and use an online life expectancy calculator to determine the the approximate year they would enter immortality. (You might try a couple calculators to compare results.)

I then asked people how long they expected to live. Some of our 30 participants shared:

Anne: 97
Bill: 102
Heidi: 91
Tim: 97
Leah: 98
Amy: 91
Christine: 91
Rex: 93
Lydia: 98
Joy: 90
Joy’s partner: 105
Nina: 104
Alexandra: 93
Alexandra’s partner: 90

“That means I have 45 years (2065) to live and Bill has 39 years (2059),” Anne said.

Another commented, “I’m 73. This is the first time I’ve looked and seen how many years I have to live. I have a lot of time left to make plans and live.”

Rex, who had recently turned 60 and, perhaps like many, was biased by societal scripts about aging, suddenly saw the 33 years he may have ahead, and said, “I have three lifetimes ahead of me! I can be and do many things!”

I’ll never forget the two 20-year-olds in a past session looking at how much time they had ahead of them, and one exclaiming, “That’s all the time I have left?!” She had at least six decades to look forward to!

Knowing how much time we have to live is one of the first steps to living a life with intention. It helps us to know our time here is finite — we don’t live forever — and to consider where we are in life, and those who are closest to us, and what we want to do with our time here.

Also, because many of us on this planet are living longer, we all need to plan better. If you have a 401(k) or pension, you may need to plan on that lasting longer. You may not want to start withdrawing funds early, so they will last until your later years. If you’re in a committed relationship, consider how long your partner will live, what they will need, and how you or they will function without the other.

As with all of our life planning workshops, this one, too, had people wondering why they had all the blank space on the right side of their plans — the “60s, 70s, 80s — Now What?” time. That’s very normal. It’s hard to plan for those years when you’re 20 through 60, working, planning for the future and living your lives.

Speaking of which, I shared in this workshop how much I dislike the word “retirement.” To me, it connotes “life is over,” or that one is “waiting to die.” To others, like my friend Mary Pat, it means, “We’re on vacation forever!”

Holly in our workshop offered, “I also dislike ‘retirement,’ so after we sold our business, I let people know I am now ‘liberated,’ meaning I do whatever I want whenever I want … I love that!”

I do, too!

In our discussion of “Step 4: Keep to the Plan” and what to do if you fall off track, Randall offered these excellent thoughts:

“Don’t judge, yes, who is to judge? 🙂 It is helpful to think of ways others can counsel and question. Spiritual Traditions / Positive Psychology / Salons / Therapist / Life Coach. Your five closest friends are MOST likely to push you (and/or inspire you) within a small-to-medium range of your current path, probably offering you the opportunity to look at yourself and the world in a more significantly different way. Who / what makes you uncomfortable, yet not abhorrent? Have them look at your goals / values / plans. How else can you get out of your own head?”

At the end of the workshop, Jeannette said, “Great presentation, Lee! Now it’s ‘JUST DO IT,’ as your former Nike boss would say!” Amy replied, “LOVE that idea!!” Christine said, “Thanks for taking your life planning and turning what you learned into a training and for doing this over Zoom, Lee.”

One of our participants had written his thesis on Rainer Maria Rilke, whom I quoted in the webinar kickoff, and shared his favorite quote: “A billion stars go spinning through the night / glittering above your head / But in you is the presence that will be / when all the stars are dead.”

Let that resonate.

Now go look at or create your Intentional Life Plan timeline. We only are gifted so much time in this human existence; let’s make the most of it.

Create your Intentional Life Plan now! Check out Lee’s “Write, Open, Act” workbook for step-by-step details on how to create the life you want.

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Author of "Write, Open, Act: An Intentional Life Planning Workbook", Lee is a former Nike public relations leader, entrepreneur, and owner of Weinstein PR.

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Lee Weinstein

Lee Weinstein

Author of "Write, Open, Act: An Intentional Life Planning Workbook", Lee is a former Nike public relations leader, entrepreneur, and owner of Weinstein PR.

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