Feeding Longevity: Another Hunger Game

What is your longevity expectation? As a Canadian, if you have ever taken one of those online life expectancy calculator questionnaires, or read a global survey from an organization like the World Health Organization (WHO), you might walk away with a number like 82. Even then, you might have to consider yourself as “average”. Oh – how often have you been that “average Canadian” in news stories, surveys and marketing campaigns?

Depending on what perspective you take on the perch you sit in your age band, how you envision your life expectancy will vary; and considering so many variables, living beyond – say 82, may appear like a short or a long game. Comparing yourself to others you hang out with in your age cohort may not offer more than an average answer. Apart from your calculation of what age you expect to live to, the other question is – what will the quality and fulfillment of your later life be?

How will you feed your longevity? Perhaps is it not another hunger game?

Beyond financial feeding

On my annual visit with my accountant, who is also a certified financial planner (not one who sells product), the discussion revisited the usual questions including – how long do you intend to keep working? This is part of the trail mix for financial feeding my longevity. My intention to work longer may reflect a general trend that has been growing for over a decade now, and for many the inspiration tends to be a combination of need and desire.

So – I left that meeting with my accountant/CFP this year with one of his usual concisely put proverbs – “Stay hungry.”

Internally chanting that mantra since then, I know that staying hungry goes well beyond the money, that it also means more than what fulfillment work can bring. Staying hungry for activity, knowledge and conversation, social interaction and civic engagement. All that, however you figure it out – helps in feeding longevity.

Hungry and restless

There is another supplement for feeding longevity in this hunger game – restlessness. Right now at your age and stage of life, feeling restless could be about accepting the obvious truth of facing your mortality, while at the same time playing with a curious concoction of ideas about what you might do with a greater than average life expectancy.

Yet restless periods can be a positive stimulus for this hunger game and are even better when you learn what Stuart Walkley, (currently a Director at the Oakridge Centre in the UK), once described – “groping in the dark skills”, discovering unexpected things by accident.

None of this asks you to be average about anything, or prescriptive about how you stay hungry. Even if the tipping point of your longevity expectancy is 82, you can always stay hungry for a bonus round.

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