I was going to post some things about aging, wisdom [oxford comma] and lifespan. About how, at age 27 (rounded up, please read preceding post), I’ve actually somewhat of an old man…at least late middle-aged…compared to people throughout history. Up until the early 20th century, life expectancy was pretty low [wikipedia.org], 31 years at birth. My pea-brain understood that (as most do) that the average person only lived 31 years. Therefore, at 27, I must actually be relatively well traveled, brilliant, and wise. I mean, I’m no genius…I was when I was 15, and my parents were the dumbest people I’ve ever met. Probably through my fantastic influence, they’ve managed to appear smarter and smarter as I get older. No coincidence, I’m sure.
Anyway, that plan was a flop. Turns out if you think about it, average life expectancy from birth isn’t what matters in this situation. No, back in the day, there was a lot of dead babies bringing down the average. If you have one child that dies as a 2 year old, and one person living to the ripe old age of 48, you have an average life expectancy at birth of 25.
This site shows A BETTER WAY. If someone lives to be 20 years old (basically, surviving childbirth or being strangled by their parents during their teen years), they’re going to live to be more like 60 years old, going back to 1850-ish. At birth, the numbers are low because of so much early death…but if you survive the tough early years, you will on average live much longer.
By these stunning new metrics, I’ve realized I’m still dumb, though now at least I know to ignore dead babies and only care about statistics of people who live to be 20.
Whether you are a man or baby, you can still contribute to society. Since wisdom isn’t exactly an easy thing to chart, there is no data publicly available letting me know how I rank in such things. I do not know if the Dunning-Kruger [wikipedia.org] applies on these topics, but it probably does. At some point, we might get old enough to trust in our own wisdom, and watch our actual wisdom collapse under the weight of ego.