Longevity

There are two things we can never really know – we don’t know when we’ll die or how. That said, it isn’t a bad plan to live everyday like it is your last while being prudent in your planning ahead.

One of my sisters recently gave me a family history that was done professionally. A cousin had hired a firm to verify some of the myths associated with our kin. The mythology, fantastic gossip passed down through a verbal history, included an unlikely tale of longevity.

If there was any grain of truth to how long our ancestors lived it was a bit remarkable. According to legend, a great many of my ancestors lived to ripe old ages. I’d heard the tales and blown them off as exaggerations.

Then, I got hold of a copy of this in-depth history of our family. There on the pages were many of the historical names I heard as a child. Most amazing were the data on birth and death records.

As I studied the data I thought that the time between birth and death looked pretty lengthy. So, I took those times and did the math.

The complete data on my ancestors’ age began around 1600. Further back the data became foggy. During the 1600 until the 1800 the average live expectancy was 35 years. At that time the women in our family were hitting 72 years old and the men reached 76 years old on average before they kicked the bucket. One fellow skewed the men because reached 100 years old. Taking him of the mix the men lived an average of 72.5 years.

The old fellow that lived to be 100 seemed like a mistake. On a whim I checked him out on the Internet. Why, not – everything else is there. Sure enough I found him and sure enough independent records confirmed his century of life here on Earth.

I figured if this group that contributed to my genes lived so long must have had money. I didn’t think there was anyway a person could nearly triple his life expectancy in the 1600s if he was poor. Sure enough, the oldest of us was noted as being “very wealthy” on the Internet. Sadly, his wealth didn’t survive to me.

The report my sister sent is extremely interesting. Among the data collected included two brothers that fought in and survived the Revolutionary War and a Southerner that fought against the North, deserted ,walked home,  planted fields,  then returned to the fighting. It seems a lot of the Southern Army practiced this fight and farm routine. The Northern Army later captured him. He survived the ordeal, too.

Overall, the Lain side of my family lives as long as the myths suggested. All I know of  “Mamas” side, the Weatherly side,  is that Grandmamma expired at 97 and Great-Grandmamma died at 104.

I certainly don’t know when I’ll die or how it will happen. I do know that we humans have being dying forever. We all have to do it. In the meantime, it is a good idea to treat others the way you’d like to be treated and set in place plans to cover the life you want to live.

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