I am taking a courera.org MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) called Nutrition, Health, and Lifestyle taught through Vanderbilt. I am a big fan of MOOCs. They are free and offer a lot of good educational content. One of the links for the course was to a Life Expectancy Calculator. I filled out and submitted the four or five pages of info and the answer comes back that my life expectancy is 94 years of age. Hmmm . . . I am 61 which means when I retire in four years and move back home to New Orleans I am going to have another 29 years of “retirement” in front of me. That sounds pretty damn awesome.
When I was 25 I thought I would be dead before I hit 40. My thinking was not based in some angsty James Dean turmoil or anything that dramatic. I really just thought my body would be used up. At 25 I was a regular black-out drinker. I was in the process of another geographic cure heading out from New Orleans to Miami where things got much worse. And I still had 7 years of active alcoholism before I was to ultimately surrender to Step One “Admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” I checked myself into a 30-day detox/rehab center.
Since that time I have taken the Steps and the steps to get my life back. In early sobriety, I didn’t think about how long I was going to live. I got to be too busy living. As we get closer to “retirement” my wife and I talk about that next part of our lives. We will do anything but retire. I have a bunch of projects lined up and my wife is already working on her art/consignment business and plans with our children and grandchildren down in New Orleans. In the last year I began to think about how if I wreck bad on my mountain bike, the bones will not mend so quickly as in the past. I bought hiking shoes that go up over my ankle because bad sprains in the woods at my age will not go away as quickly as 25 years ago.
But today I learned that my life expectancy is 94. What I learned today seems less the accuracy of the measure but more, that living and living fully is what sobriety is about. Had I not gotten sober at 32, I seriously doubt that I would have seen 40. Staying sober one day at a time, the possibilities are without limit!