Time is running out. But that’s nothing new. It’s been running out since the moment you were born. No matter how long you will eventually live, that time is now less than when you first started reading this article. We call this concept of counting the years down, instead of up, your Bucket Age. Everyone has a Bucket Age. You can figure out yours by subtracting your current age from the age you’re statistically likely to live to. My life expectancy is 85. I am 60. That makes my Bucket Age 25. So, barring a terminal disease, accident or some other unexpected demise, I have roughly 25 years left on this planet.
For some, figuring out their Bucket Age is depressing. And I can understand that. No one likes to think about dying. But asking someone to figure out their Bucket Age is not asking people to think about dying. To the contrary, it’s to ask people to think about living. To get them to pick their heads up and see how much runway they have left and plan accordingly.
On a small scale, we are really good at putting things in perspective about how precious our time on earth is. Our hearts break when we hear that someone we know is diagnosed with a terminal disease and given X amount of months to live. We shake our heads in sadness as we read When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi’s New York Times bestseller about his battle with cancer. And we sing along righteously to Tim McGraw’s hit, Live Like You Were Dying. But too often, the lessons learned from this kind of wake-up call are forgotten not long after that person we grieve for is gone.
Calculating your Bucket Age is one way to maintain this perspective. To remind yourself how precious life is, and to encourage you to make decisions that won’t leave you with regrets when your time is actually up. I know, it’s tough to talk about mortality. But like a vaccine that utilizes elements of the very disease it is protecting you from, your Bucket Age can be that dose of reality that kicks you in the ass and gets you to take that trip, quit that job, start that business or call that estranged friend.
Check out our video in which we asked people to calculate their Bucket Age. Then figure out your own. Who knows what it might inspire.
Excellent way to view life and what you have left in the tank!
Love the whole concept. Of course, coming up with a credible number is dicey. Some life expectancy calculators are sponsored by investment and insurance companies to sell products based on fear of running out of money before you run out of life. Others factor in a broader range of lifestyle habits and family medical history to paint a more objective picture. For example, one sponsored calculator predicted I’d live to 96. Another projected I’d reach 97, with a 75% chance of living to 88. While the numbers game is intriguing to play, the real value of this site is that… Read more »
Thanks for your comment Brian. You raise an interesting point about the motives of some longevity calculators. What we recommend is simply that you get a rough idea of your life expectancy. The point of calculating your Bucket Age is not the number, but the perspective that it gives you. All that said, one calculator we recommend is the social security calculator you can find here: https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/population/longevity.html
I never had a name for it but I thought about this for quite some time. My mom lived until 96. We used to say she was in triple Overtime. She lived it to the end. I’m going to try and do the same. I’d like to think I’m about 27.
Terrible idea. If you have an expiration date in mind, your mind will convince your body to obey. There’s nothing wrong with treating time as more precious the less you have of it, but not this.
Hey Scott, thanks for your point of view on this. We understand that thinking about how much time you have left can be depressing for some. But our hope is that calculating your Bucket Age is a way for people to really think about what they want to accomplish in their lives and to get busy doing it. I encourage you to read the interview with me (http://bit.ly/2Hrk5w6) and, in particular, the part about taking the family to the zoo without factoring in when the zoo is going to close. I hope this better explains the thinking behind the Bucket… Read more »
You can’t calculate your estimated death; I died suddenly four years ago at the age of 60. I’m not going into details here, but yes, one MUST live life as if today is the last day – you never know!
Very worried now. This week we decided to move to the same town where our daughter and grandchildren live. We are building a home on the property where she is expanding her business of flower farming, arrangements, weddings and other venues. We will help with the small business. We have lived in our present town almost our whole lives and have good friends that we will really miss. Those best friends both have immediate family living here with them and are often with them. We have none. Our daughter come to visit. Our oldest daughter only comes once a year…living… Read more »
I love the concept. Toss out the “60 is the new 40,” I say, “60 is the new 60!” We are redefining and learning to embrace this real, natural life progression called aging.