You Only Have 5 Good Years in Life

Yes, it’s a humor piece. And it’s a good one.

If you think about it, you only have five good years in life. Does this seem like a strange thought? I’ll explain what I mean.

As I enter the later years of my life, I reflect on my youth. In some ways I miss it. Yet in other ways I do not. Regardless, as I think about how many good years we as humans have in general—years where we’re healthy, vibrant, and have no thoughts of old age—I realize we have a lot fewer of them than I initially thought.

Life can be fun in childhood. At the same time, childhood means you are a child. You are under control of adults and you are physically and mentally a child. So the first 18 years of your life are good but not the best years of your life. But once you turn 18, things change.

Assuming we still consider 40 the age where we start entering middle age (or old age) that means that we have about 22 years of the best years of our lives. Or so it would seem at first glance. But once you start thinking about it, that doesn’t really hold true.

Once you turn 30 you realize how fast 12 years went by from the time you were 18 until you hit 30. They went a lot quicker than the 12 years from when you were six and in kindergarten until you were 18 and a senior in high school, didn’t they? And then you realize you only have 10 years until you turn 40. And if 12 years went by fast, how much quicker will 10 years pass?

So while you initially thought that your thirties were part of the good years of your life, you now realize they aren’t because they represent how close to 40 you are.

But at least you still have 12 good years to your life. Or do you?

From 18 through the next four or so years of their lives, many people are in college. And while that’s fine and still an enjoyable part of life, people are around 22-years-old when they enter the real world. Twenty-two is still young, but the big three-oh is only eight years away. And 30 is the point where you no longer are a “young adult.”

And once you think about this, you realize when you’re 22 you’re only three years away from turning 25. And once you turn 25, you’re closer to 30 than you are to 20. And that makes you realize your youth is almost done.

But at least you have eight good years of life—from when you turn 18 to when you turn 25. Except for when you think about it, even this isn’t true.

You see, once you realize that by 25 you are more 30 than you are 20, 25 no longer is part of the good years of your life. Twenty-four is only one year away from 25, so let’s say 23 is still part of your good years of life.

And that’s how I arrive at the conclusion that you only really have five good years in life. Although 23 is closer to 25 than it is to 20. So maybe you don’t even have five good years in life….

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