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Cruiser's avatar

If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

Asked by Cruiser (40421points) April 20th, 2011

The current life expectancy in the west is 77–80 years…what if life expectancies were now ½ that at 40 yrs, how would you live your life differently or would you?? I would be long gone if that were the case.

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22 Answers

yankeetooter's avatar

I’d be about to die, so I guess it’s too late…:)

ucme's avatar

Okay, so I get to live out my retirement in my 20’s/30’s? Fuck yeah! Marriage & kids would have to be shelved though. So much fun to be had….so little time.

bobbinhood's avatar

I wouldn’t be able to value education so highly. I’ll probably be 30 by the time I get my doctorate, and I couldn’t very well use ¾ of my life before I started making a good amount of money. A lot of people wouldn’t even be able to pay off their college loans before they died, so we would have to reevaluate the place education has in society.

We would also need to have children at younger ages. If I remember correctly, the average age for a first marriage is now in the late 20’s, and many people wait a couple years to have kids. That wouldn’t work if we all died near 40. Once again, this requires reevaluating educational and professional goals such that they don’t make us put off having children until it’s too late.

marinelife's avatar

I would have hoped to be more aware of time passing in my youth.

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tedd's avatar

I would die young.

mattbrowne's avatar

I would have had kids when I was 19 hoping to havee seen my grandchildren.

faye's avatar

So many of the great discoveries were made by older people that we’d all be living differently. There’d be so many more uneducated people because they’d want to be married, have children. High schools would have to base in reality and actually teach useful things.

cazzie's avatar

I agree with @mattbrowne I would have had kids right away for purely selfish reasons.

dxs's avatar

I’m pretty sure that is the life expectancy in some poor countries like Zimbabwe.
I don’t really know if I would do anything differently other than basically speed up my life. In a general standpoint, I feel that the schooling would have to be somewhat quicker, as you would potentially spend ½ your life actually learning what you need to learn versus applying it.

Haleth's avatar

I heard that in prehistoric societies most of the work was done by teenagers. I also saw a great article (posted by @Simone_De_Beauvoir, I think) about how most teenagers are developmentally ready for adult responsibilities and adolescence is a recent invention. High school artificially extends childhood and stifles teenagers, which is why teens act out now.

If life ended at 40, I bet public schools would be set up a lot differently. Maybe there would be accelerated programs for fast learners or more vocational training, but people would definitely not be starting careers in their 20s. I would have done an apprenticeship and gotten straight to work, the way people did before the 1800s or so, when life expectancy actually was much shorter.

majorrich's avatar

If nothing else changed, I would treasure my childhood more. And I probably would pay more attention n school. Start a family early and spoil the crap out of my kids.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

The military guys that plan on retiring after 20 years would be royally screwed. I think I’d avoid that path.

erichw1504's avatar

I’d eat less fried foods.

Coloma's avatar

I’m ready to go at any time. lol
Seriously, I wouldn’t change a thing and feel that 50 years is more than enough time on this planet.

NOT that I have a death wish, don;t get me wrong, I LOVE life, I cherish and acknowledge the beauty and the lessons daily, I have immense gratitude, but…really, 40–60 years is plenty of time to fulfill our biological destiny and well, ideally, we should exit before we become a burden to the state or our children.

I am happy, healthy and at peace, sooo, maybe I am humble enough to have no qualms about departing and making space for the next wave of ’ meet, mate & procreate.’ lol

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glenjamin's avatar

That would suck, that would mean I have 7 years left. I would have started a family earlier, so I could be around to see them through to adulthood. I probably would be less concerned about being healthy, and have less guilt about being indulgent (because I would be gone by the time these things would have caught up with me anyway).

KatawaGrey's avatar

I probably would have married my first boyfriend we were 14 and have two or three kids now. My momma would be long since dead and I’d probably live in England with him. I do not think that life would be so bad, but I am very happy with my life now. I have more time to do the things I want to do and more time to be with my family and friends.

In a few hundred years, when the average life expectancy in some countries is well past a hundred, I wonder if people will be amazed at how we managed to fit such a full life in our eighty years.

cookieman's avatar

Well thanks a heap. You just gave me six months to live.

I guess I’ll go quit my jobs and hang out with my family. Yeesh.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I would have left my last SO before the two year mark. Everything else I’d keep the same.

Berserker's avatar

I probably wouldn’t do much of anything different, having slipped in the social mould that society would have if this were the case. Although I may feel terribly depressed that I have about ten years left to live and I’ve done fuckall with my life, assuming I didn’t really do anything different than right now.

Necuno's avatar

I’d like to point out that ‘half’ is nothing. Life is already extremely long, so long indeed that you only have the vaguest idea of what happened to you even a tenth of your maximum age ago.

Say we doubled it up to 150 or even 200 years, assuming everything stays the same, youth length, the standard education length, retirement at age of death minus 20 years, the lot. Do you really think much would change?

The only thing that would change would be the aforementioned assumptions.

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