Major announcement: U.S. life expectancy hits a new high of 78

Glen Lyod
August 26, 2009 — 1,369 views  
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The good news, according to government statistics released on Wednesday, is that life expectancy in the US is the highest it has ever been at 77.9 years. The immediate effect on every single American is that you should rush off and check if you can afford to live to this extended ripe old age. Nothing is free, as we all know and the extra years are being tacked on at the end, not the beginning. In case you don't get it, those are the years when you are popping expensive pills to keep everything working; those are the years when you are living it up in an expensive retirement community somewhere in the Sun Belt. Those are the years when you need money. Will you have any left for that time of your life or will you have used it all up by then? As a result of this longevity, a new social class has developed - the Active Retirees. It is a respectable and much respected occupation. I am one of them, being paid to spend my days in front of the computer, out there in cyberspace, surfing for information, gliding from one link to the next, marveling at the endlessness of the information highway. My ophthalmologist, who I visit at 3 month intervals because she insists I can get glaucoma at any moment, warned me about excessive computer use and says that she sees a definite change on the retina thing at the back of my eye, the screen, as it were. "It has developed the format of a computer screen," she noted two visits ago. "At last!" I breathed thankfully. My days are well taken care of. The mornings are crammed full of retirement activity. I eat a late breakfast and browse the newspapers briefly; the news is always depressing, unemployment, swine flu, bad economy, swine flu, yucky job market, swine flu. I tackle the NY Times crossword with varying results, check my miserable stock portfolio for signs of life, read the health tips, log into my bank account and take a fleeting glance at my overdraft, and by then it's almost time for lunch. After lunch things slow down considerably but an active retiree never forgets that he may be called upon at any time to take a grandchild or fetch a grandchild to some unheard of place miles from the nearest internet café or coffee shop. My nights are generally sleepless and I can vouch for the fact that there's nothing to watch on the TV after midnight. To keep my brain active, I do intensive research on the internet, following ads that claim you can make $10,000 a month by just sitting in front of your computer and not moving. It's not true. There are sites where you can earn small amounts of money. On just about all of them you will sweat blood to pull in a few measly dollars that won't pay for anything.

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Glen Lyod