Rabbits have a life expectancy of 5 to 15 years. Rats are expected to live from 2 to 3 years before they die of old age. These animals are domesticated, kept in the safest of conditions; they have doctors that specialize in animal care; they are sustained by diets that are specifically tailored to the needs of their respective species. Still, they are given this margin or error. In the best of conditions and completely unaffected by disease, these animals can be cut down to as little as 33% of their lives through a process of random biological error.
Humans--of the American variety--have a life expectancy of 77 years. That's an average. About 1/2 of us will die before we hit 77. Given the margin of error in our pets' lives, we can postulate that natural causes can take us at any time. 33% of 77 is 25. 25 is less than 3 years away for me.
We generally take better care of pets than we do ourselves.
When I was in grades 1 through 12, I would come home from school and eat nonstop until bedtime. Unfathomable slabs of cheese. 1/2 a box of crackers. Snack cakes, 3 or 4 packs at a time. Slim Jims by the canister. The evidence--wrappers and such--all got hidden in various couch crevices and secret bedroom spots. By my 2nd year of college, I weighed over 300 pounds.
Then I decided to lose weight. The 1st step was to stop snacking between meals. Then I cut out meat. Started eating healthy. Exercising--going more than 5 miles a day. Then it got worse. I was down to 1200 calories a day. 1100. 1000. My 1st semester of my 3rd year in college, I ate between 800 and 900 calories a day. I dropped down to 170 pounds. That was a loss of 130 pounds in 5 months.
After some moderate intervention, I am on a healthy track. I eat approximately 2100 calories a day. In order to assure myself that I am getting the proper nutrition, I eat the same thing every day, and I have for the past 2 years. Scattered throughout the day, I eat 2 cups of Kashi GoLean cereal, 2 cups of Wheaties, 7 apples, 2 bags of frozen broccoli, 2 vegan Boca Burgers, 4 cups of yogurt, 1 protein shake, and 1 serving of fat-free candy. I also drink 7 bottles of water. I supplement my diet with 1 multivitamin and 1 B-complex.
It may not be the healthiest thing to lack variety, but it's better than starving myself or gorging myself. I would say that I now consume a healthy, balanced diet. Kind of like the stuff you'd find in a pet's bowl--all the kibbles and all the bits.
Of my prior 22 years on earth, I have done surprisingly little.
Did 1 thing I can say I am really proud of.
Did 5 things that, after years of reflection, I genuinely regret to this day.
Worked at 2 jobs.
Been in 1 country.
Dated 1 person for 4 months (nonconsecutive).
Been on 3 dates otherwise.
Published 0 poems.
Published 0 pieces of fiction.
Given the significant wear and tear that my body suffered for the 1st 21 years of my life, it's safe to say that I will not be among the 50% that make it to 77 years of age. If change hasn't suited me for the better, I may only make it to 33%. That's 25 years of age. 790 days. November 6, 2009.
But who's counting?