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ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Is it extremely odd that I don't necessarily want to live a "long" life?

Asked by ANef_is_Enuf (23288 points ) October 2nd, 2011

Just in case anyone misinterprets… I am not suicidal in any way, shape, or form.

I have never really had a desire to live to an old age. In fact, having observed many people, up close, in the later years in life… I want it even less. Even people who took great care of themselves usually end up dealing with incontinence or mobility issues, or both. Aches, pains, memory issues or dementia. Not that I don’t appreciate that, despite those things and others, people still love their lives and enjoy the time that they have… but is it really so strange that I don’t think I would be disappointed to check out before that point?

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54 Answers

Leanne1986's avatar

I feel the same way so, of course, I don’t think it’s odd.

chewhorse's avatar

It isn’t odd at all, it relative. Many young people experience this feeling.. The problem comes when you eventually reach the age.. You will know your age decries ‘old age’ but you will mentally feel no older than you did in your youth thus this old age will seem to turn into an unfair practice that will give you second thoughts about leaving such a short life irregardless of your physical condition. Believe me, it’s true (been there, doing it).

Hibernate's avatar

I don’t want to end up old and sick from many illnesses. I don’t want to have problems talking/seeing/thinking/moving. Guess what? I support your idea of not living too many years ^^

augustlan's avatar

I don’t think it’s all that odd… my husband feels the same way. I feel like, as long as you can still experience happiness and/or joy, you should stick around, though. Maybe it’s because I’ve been dealing with chronic pain for a really long time, and have learned to love my life anyway? Anyway, I don’t think you’re weird. Well, at least not for that. :p

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

@chewhorse I know exactly what you’re describing, with the mental age not really matching the physical age. I’ve had to explain the phenomenon to people before, so I’m not unfamiliar with it.
I just think it goes beyond that, for me. Personally. For many reasons, but I won’t go into them just yet.

Bellatrix's avatar

Nope. I think I have said here before I don’t expect to live to a ripe old age. So, we make the most of what we have hey Neffie? As long as I see my young ones grown up and settled, I will be pretty satisfied. Anything over and above will be a wonderful bonus.

I don’t think I would want to be around and incapacitated and a burden on my family and that is for certain!

rooeytoo's avatar

I think perhaps opinions change as you get older. I am not in a hurry to cash in my chips, that’s for sure. But I am healthy and active. I am sure if I were sickly and immobile my feelings would be different.

smilingheart1's avatar

I wonder how the young faces peering back at us from obituary pages would answer this.

flutherother's avatar

Time of itself is nothing, it depends on what it contains. I don’t wish for a long life, but I would like another ten or fifteen years to do the things I dream of.

Scooby's avatar

Not at all odd, I think the exact same thoughts so if your odd so am I…… I’ve watched my mother deteriorate through old age creeping up on her for years now. At seventy six she’s managed to live longer than any of her immediate generation, cousins / siblings / peers, everyone she’s ever been close to, not including her kids, grandkids etc…. Unfortunately now the down side of living so long ( for her ) is evermore apparent.. She’s now bedridden & relies totally on twenty four hour care….. From diabetes to glaucoma, the battles with cancer over the years with two mastectomies I don’t know how she’s made it this far… her hands have become next to useless as her fingers have stiffened up too…. I really wonder what I’ll be like if I get to that age, it’s really not for me.. I can feel my fingers starting to stiffen up now at forty four. I certainly don’t want to end up like my mother. That sad part is she’s really very lucid most of the time, it’s just when she’s in so much pain ( diabetes ) her mind falters.. So no your not odd or strange…….. It’s not something we can avoid thinking about at some stage, we might put it off or to the back of our minds….. But it’s inevitable we all will confront these thoughts at some time in our lives……. Unless we’re in complete denial & think some miracle is going to prevent it all.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Would that change if the age at which the body decays was pushed back, if you were really 130 when your body had the wear and tear of 50 (but puberty still happens roundabout 12? Or everything is just longer, and puberty happens when you’re 35)? I think it’s normal to not want to deal with “old age”, but I’d like to live a really long life if I could just find some way to avoid “old age”.

Cruiser's avatar

I will take all the aches and pains life can throw my way till that last breath life affords me.

XOIIO's avatar

I feel the same way. Once I starrt shaking constantly, o needing a walker, or just can’t do stuff I used to do I’m offing myself. I’m guessing around 60

Pandora's avatar

Its called a fear of getting old. I think a lot of people feel that way. Especially if they have ever been sick and really hate all that it comes with.
I feel the same way. But I’ve noticed that many older people who felt that way when younger eventually feel differently as they feel time marching on. Knowing that eveything can end at anytime they keep wanting one more day. Unless of course they are bed ridden or all alone in the world. Then they give up the fight. In the end we become more frightened of the unknown nature of death or the possible pain involved in dying.

AmWiser's avatar

…but is it really so strange that I don’t think I would be disappointed to check out before that point?
It’s probably a thought of many people at certain ages, especially when looking at elderly. Also @Pandora said what I really wanted to say.:-)

I always say ‘old age ain’t for sissy’s’.~

ETpro's avatar

I’m 67 now. I work out every day, am in the best shape I’ve ever been in, and am enjoying my life immensely. I am sure that age will compromise my ability someday. Perhaps then I will be ready for the end, but I can sit in a rocking chair and read and contemplate the blessed relief from suffering that will bring.

Till then, my philosophy is it takes way longer to wear out than to rust out. I own my own business, so nobody is going to force me into retirement. My business—Web development—requires that I constantly study and master new technologies. Life is good. Live it fully.

I have known people who sought only to live fast, die young and leave a pretty body behind. Most succeeded, and what a tragic waste of potential that was. I’m too far away from their final resting place to drop by their actual graves, but I do visit them mentally from time to time to keep clear in my mind why it’s important to live each day fully, and avoid the way they chose.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t think so. Everyone has watched old people suffer at one point. Life is beautiful, but spending the rest of it in misery seems like the last of the few ways I would like to spend it.

Seek's avatar

Buddy Holly
Kurt Cobain
Janis Joplin
Stevie Ray Vaughan (edit: sorry, he was 35)
Jim Morrisson
Ronnie van Zant

^ They all died before they hit 30. And they’re all immortal.

Edgar Allan Poe was only 40 when he keeled over. Of course, his whole life was a mess of poverty and depression.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

As long I’m in relatively good shape I’m good. When things go further south I’m not so sure.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I’m actually enjoying some of these posts, quessing at the ages of some of the posters. @XOIIO : 60? Really? I think you’d be rather surprised at what really represents 60. My mother had to start using a walker because she had brain surgery…at age 86.

To answer the Q: Not odd, Neffie, but you may want to think of it in terms of how well you are, not how long you live. Mostly one doesn’t just wake up one day in terrible shape, it takes a long time and adjustment happens along the way. If I come to a point where I am consistently miserable with little or no hope of it getting better, then I’ll want to stop. Probably not before.

Mariah's avatar

I don’t think that’s strange at all! I share this feeling, in fact.

I think all it means is that you have an appreciation for the importance of quality of your days above the quantity of days. Who wants to live 110 years if the last 30 are spent in mental or physical turmoil?

When I visit my grandmother in her nursing home, I tend to find myself thinking that I’d really prefer to die before needing to go into a home.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Die young, stay pretty as the old song goes…

King_Pariah's avatar

Nope not odd, if anything i would imagine people would want to live fulfilling lives rather than long.

Coloma's avatar

Nope. I feel the same way.
I already feel I have had a pretty well rounded life experience.
I don’t have a death wish, but, I am at peace with the concept of dying, see it as the next great adventure.

Infact, I often think I’d like to know I only have a year to live, I could spend all my money with abandon and die before I am broke. lol

I actually think that would be really liberating.

Seek's avatar

@Coloma We have friends who did just that – received a diagnosis of untreatable cancer in one case, and Multiple Sclerosis with another.

They both partied until their bodies broke down, then offed themselves in a non-messy fashion. Neither had kids, so I guess it worked for them.

gailcalled's avatar

@ETpro : I’m a little older than you but feel and behave the same way.

I too work out 4–5 days a week, am physically active, lead an independent and contented life, am smarter and more curious that I ever was as a youth, discover new interests daily, have a stimulating and heady relationship with Milo,and know how to lead the best life I can.

MY mother had a terrific run for her money until she was about 92 and then she only had memory problems. Until she had a stroke at 96, she was walking (with a walker) to meals every day and clocked up at least a mile to and from the dining room twice a day.She had the apartment furthest away from the public facilities so had no choice

gondwanalon's avatar

If you are willing to put the effort into your health and fitness then you have a chance of reaching a very active and physically fit old age. Take a look at Jack LaLanne Jack LaLanne has been an inspiration to me since I was a young boy and he continues to inspire people even though he died last year at 96.

Many of us have the capability to live a long and active life if we are lucky and work hard at maintaining our body’s and minds.

Are you willing to put in the effort?

gailcalled's avatar

@gondwanalon: Once you get into a rhythm, it’s not so hard.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m with you, girlie. As soon as my body and/or mind goes I want to go.

ucme's avatar

When I was a kid, I didn’t want to live past fifty. I mean 50!!! Seemed such a huge number back then. Now of course, i’ve moved the goalposts a little. So long as I don’t wear beige, hideous cardigans & smell of cheese i’m quite happy to live as long as life allows me to.
I just hope I never forget that I have a penis :¬(

gailcalled's avatar

@ucme: Your penis will keep reminding you of its existence, one way or another, I promise you.

ucme's avatar

Yes I know, but i’m going to want more than several trips to the toilet during the night. I want life damn it life!!

Symbeline's avatar

It isn’t odd to me, I feel the same way. However, I think I could hack it if my mind remained as it is now. But a lot of aged people get problems there too. Even if I wouldn’t be aware of it, not remembering people I know and stuff like that sounds horrible to me. If I’m lucky enough to grow old but still keep my mind, then I guess it would be fine, although I’m not entirely looking forward to all the physical inconveniences I’ll most likely suffer from. I should probably take better care of myself now in that respect though. I bet I’ll regret if I make it to 70, 80, hell I’ll prolly regret it in five years. XD

noodle_poodle's avatar

nah its totally normal…being old looks shit. Plus i’d find it degrading to have to have someone look after me in the way many old people do. The day I cant use the toilet by myself any more will be the day I invest in a shotgun.

janbb's avatar

Oddly enough (ha!), I’m with @gailcalled , @ETpro and @JilltheTooth on this one. I don’t want to live past the point when I am miserable mentally or physically but I sure as heck want to keep living until then. At 60, I am healthier emotionally, physically, mentally (except for those damned car keys!) and sexually than at most other points in my life. Most things keep getting better and until they really degrade, I want to be around. I used to say I wanted to live 75 good years and then die, now it has kind of moved back to 85. And while I may not be as pretty as I was when I was 25, now at least I know that I am attractive enough for most purposes.

tranquilsea's avatar

The only time I’d put a bullet in my brain is if I had Alzheimer’s (it runs in my family) or some form of dementia that guaranteed I wouldn’t recognize my family at some point. I’d live life to the fullest and try to gauge the moment to do myself in.

I’m not afraid of the general things that show up as we age.

I have family members who lived until 100 and some who died at 65. I’d like a life closer to the 100 than the 65.

postcard's avatar

No it is not strange to feel this way because no one wants to experience the disabilities and hardships that may come with old age. My own view is that if I could exist in a relatively comfortable condition (not extreme suffering) I would want to live as long as possible.

Blackberry's avatar

@trainquilsea But…you could do the whole Notebook love story, then die.

tranquilsea's avatar

@Blackberry lol….only if life was like a movie :-P

Nullo's avatar

Not really. Shows wisdom, even; who’d want to live forever in a fallen world?

perspicacious's avatar

No. Many people do not want to deal with those old-age issues. For me, no colostomy, no diapers, no drooling. I can hardly stand the thought of any of them. But, I didn’t get to decide when my life started and I will not get to decide when it ends.

ETpro's avatar

@gailcalled Thanks for the reinforcing feedback. I look to Jack La Lane too. And another fitness hero of mine, much less known, is Dr. Loenard Schwartz. He was the father of Heavyhands, the exercise I do on odd-numbered days. Here;s a picture of him doing Heavyhands at age 84. My dad made it to 99, and was still active and had a sharp mind, so I am sure I have good genes, and I think that’s more than half the battle.

octopussy's avatar

Not strange at all and I feel the same way, there is absolutely nothing good or beneficial about getting old and I believe in voluntary euthanasia when people are ready to go. A big shot of morphine for me will do when I’m ready. My mother was made to suffer for 3 weeks waiting for her life to end from the end result of cancer when she should have just been given a fatal dose of morphine on day 1.

KidCurtis's avatar

I don’t think so, I don’t understand why people would want to live long enough to see themselves decline to the point of basic helplessness.

Nullo's avatar

My dad jokes that he plans to kick off at 74, the night before the life insurance policy expires. He has the family background to carry him well into his 80s.

chewhorse's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf .. Lighten up on yourself sweetie.. You’ve got to get out of that funk your in and start viewing the world less seriously. I know it’s far more difficult than it sounds but once you know there’s nothing you can do but do the best you can, then the weight of the world will no longer also affect you.. Once I was like you (in that things were piling up with no light at the end) but once I realized this is part of life as well, it saved me several attacks of ulcers. I do wish the best for you though. When I was young I used to dwell on the fear of growing old, feeble and sickly.. now that I’m old I dwell on why I wasted my youth on dwelling on growing old and I’ll be damned if I allow myself to become feeble and sickly.

lonelydragon's avatar

No, I don’t think so. I feel the same way. I would rather live a short, fulfilling life with my mental faculties still intact than a long life with nothing but declining health to look forward to in the end.

rooeytoo's avatar

I think maybe this is something you say while still young. When you get older and the time grows closer, as long as you are healthy, you’re in no hurry to check out. When you’re young and old age seems so far away, then it is like that time will never come so what does it matter!!!

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Considering the alternative, I do think that is rather odd.

But then, my dad always said that the only person that can honestly say he or she doesn’t want to live to be 60 is someone who is 59 already. Just like he always said that the only person that can honestly say they would like to have 10 children is someone who already has 9.

KNOWITALL's avatar

When I was young, from about 16 on, I always thought I’d die young….childish folly, but I let if effect my psyche in that I didn’t have children, I have had life insurance since I was 19 or so, etc…

I will be 40 in January, and I seem to be holding up pretty well for now. When I’m done here, hopefully human euthanasia will be available, ‘cause I’m outta heya!

(Why can we euthanize pets in the US but only provide palliative care for humans? To me it’s so odd that humans are allowed to suffer due to legalities. Make sure to do a living will everybody!!!)

Inspired_2write's avatar

Odd? Or just NOT important.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Nope, I feel sorta the same way, as long as I can , Dress,bath,feed,and go the the bathroom on my own I will stick around when that can’t happen then I want off this merry go round.
But no man in our family has ever made it past 85,and I fully expect an illness or accident to take me out long before then.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 85? Crap, I thought 40 was doing extremely well. :) I guess it’s all relative.

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