Base jumping at 100

Emma Faust Tillman, the world’s oldest known person died today. She was 114 and an avid BASE jumper. It is unbelievable how long she participated in one of the most dangerous sports in the world and lived so long. Okay, she didn’t jump off any mountains with a parachute as far as I know. However, she sang in the church choir for about 80 years—close to BASE jumping.

Can you imagine living until you were 114? Would that mean middle age wasn’t until 57? According to The World Fact Book, the life expectancy in the United States is 77.85. So at a life expectancy of 77.85, middle age would be at around 39—is that right? The life expectancy in Spain is about 79.65 so I lost 2 years just moving back to the United States!

I didn’t like that figure so I put in a few figures (mostly true) in an online life expectancy calculator and discovered my life expectancy to be 102. At first I thought that would just be too long to live. When you get to that age you tend to sleep quite a bit. But I really love to sleep so maybe it wouldn’t be too bad.

Then I wondered if you could be active as you near 100. That brought me to learn about Philip Rabinowitz. Philip Rabinowitz entered the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest centenarian to run 100 meters. Now, he wasn’t burning up the track at 30.86 seconds—but the guy was 100 years old! He plans to beat his own record in the future—I think he’d better hurry up.

Obviously we can’t look at statistics and averages to determine how long we are going to live. There are so many factors in determining our longevity, like, for example, how often we shop at Wal-Mart, how many of our offspring become murderers, our favorite color, and if we’ve ever used a shoe horn.


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