TCS: How Long is Life?

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Reality is frequently inaccurate.

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Birthdays make me take a look around. I checked out a bunch of quotes on Life, and the one above is what struck me. In another year, it would be something completely different, but for January 2017, this is the one.

When I was little, I assumed I’d live to be really old, like my three Great Aunts, because I loved them and wanted to be like them, and I never felt like the grandmothers and others who didn’t last so long. Now I no longer assume I will reach their near-century marks, and I’m pretty sure I don’t even want to be 90-something years old.

So how long is Life? The first video shows how different a ‘long life’ is for each  species.  No dog or cat has ever lasted as long as I have, but I’m a mere youngster in elephant years, while bowhead whales live to be 200 if humankind doesn’t prematurely end their lives.

I found this YouTube of Igor Stravinsky conducting the end of The Firebird in 1960, at the age of 78. It was one of the pieces he conducted on January 8, 1925, for the debut of his music in America when he was 43 years old. The last part of this Firebird section is also the music we used during our wedding ceremony in 1983, because it is a favorite passage for both of us. Stravinsky had died in April 1971, at the age of 88, just a couple of months before he would have turned 89.

Somehow, the coincidence that his musical debut in America was on January 8, the day I would be born 24 years later, connects all of that together for me.

There are those who believe that everything is connected, and those who insist everything is random — I lean toward connected, but don’t know if it’s true, or wishful thinking.

In the end, does length matter, or connections or coincidence? Isn’t it what we do while we’re alive that counts?


At seventy-seven it is time to be in earnest.

— Samuel Johnson  


That seems a little late to me, so I’m going to move up the timetable.




About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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