How long will you live for?! 0 Comments

How long will you live for?!

We can discover, via the Berkeley Lab News Center, that the universe is 13.82 billion years old.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare tells us the life expectancy in Australia for females is 84, while for males it is 79.

Major symphony conductors seem to live to the ripe old age of around 73, while authors and poets, especially those in Britain, live to about 64 (Life-spans, Kendig & Hutton). Yikes.

As we all know, the human body is finite. White blood cells live for 9 days, skin cells for 20 days, red blood cells last for 120 days and muscles and nerves may live for as long as the body does.

Now that I’ve put our ageing bodies into perspective, let’s see how long you will live for. The book Life-spans gives us a formula to get a rough estimate of how long we’ll live for.

Begin with the current life expectancy of your sex – 84 or 79. Apply this formula:


  • If two of your grandparents lived past 80, add 2 years. If all four made it to 80 or beyond, add 5.
  • If anyone in your immediate family died of a heart attack or stroke before age 50, subtract 4.
  • For a parent, brother or sister who has cancer, a heart condition or diabetes, subtract 3.


  • If you live in a large (2 million plus people) city, subtract 1. If you live in a small (10,000 people or under) town, add 1.
  • If your work keeps you sitting behind a desk, subtract 2. If it involves physical activity, add 2.
  • If you’re living with someone, add 4. If not, subtract 1 for each decade alone since 25.
  • If you use seatbelts and stay within speed limits when driving, add 1. If you got a speeding ticket this year, subtract 1.
  • If you are in a high-income job, subtract 2.
  • If you are a university graduate, add 1. If you received any post-graduate degree, add 2.
  • If you’re 60 or older and still working, add 3.

Health habits

  • For smokers: if you consume two packs a day, subtract 8. One or two packs, subtract 6. One pack or less, subtract 3.
  • For every 4.5 kilos you are overweight, subtract 1.
  • For exercising three or more times weekly, add 3.
  • Checkups: for men over 40, add 2 if you have annual checkups. For all women who have annual checkups, add 2.
  • If you sleep 9 hours or more, subtract 4.


  • For the intense, aggressive, easily angered person, subtract 3. For the easygoing, passive person, add 3.
  • For those unhappy with life, subtract 2. For those who are happy, add 2.

The number you get could give you a reasonable estimate for your own life-span, based on some of the known contributors to ageing (back in the 1980s, when Life-spans was published).

My predicted life-span, after all the adding and subtracting, is 84. How very average. Time to take up smoking.


Source: Kendig, Frank & Hutton, Richard. Life-spans. Magnum Books. USA, 1980.


There was a time when Chloe Brien wanted to be a fairy and work magic. Having given up on that dream, she instead wants to work magic with words. Her preferred incantations are fiction and poetry. She has been published in Verge, Voiceworks and elsewhere.

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