I have a few more decades before I hit the age of 69. However, it scares me. Just this past week both David Bowie and Alan Rickman (Professor Snape) died from cancer at the age of 69. Ok. Truth be told, cancer also scares me. I truly hope that Obama’s plan to attack cancer at a national level comes to fruition. As someone in healthcare, I have seen cancer strike many blows to those around me. It is frightening. But back to age.
Nowadays life expectancy in the US rose in the year 2012 to 78.8 years – a record high. For women it is actually 81.2 years. Sadly, my mother died at the age of 67 which I found to be way too young. We are supposed to be able to live longer and longer. All this data may even give us a false sense of being able to live forever. We think that, like George Bush, we can go skydiving at the age of 90 or rock the mike on a world stage like Mick jagger at the age of 73. Of course, there is also the other end of the age spectrum that has spooked people. In popular culture there is the notion of the “27 club”. Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones all died at the age of 27. Supposedly, 50 famous musicians have died at the age of 27. A bit spooky. Some scientists have noted that in terms of musicians there is an unusual spike in deaths at the age of 27. Of course, the social scientist in me, knows there are may confounding factors here such as access to guns, drugs and bad will. It doesn’t stop groups like Fall Out Boy from singing about that spooky age of 27. Growing up, I thought the age of 33 was scary. Both John Belushi and Chris Farley died at that age.
Now, the age of 69 looms scary. I suppose 69 is better than belonging to the 27 club and I suppose this is all part of the January blues. January tends to be a month of grand depression as we rapidly realize that our resolutions have already gone to the waste side and there are still 11 more months until the end of the year when you can next take vacation. Oh, the January blues.