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The Daily Beast ran a piece on fifteen indicators of life expectancy. Being someone terrified of death and in denial of its eventuality, I was immediately intrigued by the list. Here’s how I fared:
1. The employed outlive the laid-off.

I am a teacher, a novelist and a wedding DJ. I work more than anyone I know, and I have been working full time since the age of sixteen without a break. Based upon this indicator, I should live forever.

2. Married people outlive singles.

All set here. My wife made me promise to never get divorced before we even started dating (true story).

3. Women with husbands their own age outlive cougars.

Not applicable. But this bodes well for my wife, who is four years younger than me.

4. People who sleep less outlive people who sleep a lot.

This both surprised and thrilled me, since I sleep less than anyone I know.

According to the research, “Those who typically sleep more than 8.5 hours a night face a 15 percent higher mortality risk than those who typically sleep seven hours nightly. The risk factor soars again for those who sleep fewer than 4.5 hours nightly.”

This means that the 5.5 hours of sleep that I get every night falls right into the sweet spot between 4.5 and 8.5. And I’ve been sleeping for five hours a night for most of my life. Once again, based upon this indicator, I’m practically immortal.

5. Slim-waisted people outlive big-waisted people.

I was initially concerned about this indicator until I read that a man’s normal waist circumference is 36 inches. Mine is 34, making me a slim-waisted person.

No one in the world would ever refer to me as a slim-waisted person, myself included, but I don’t care. I’ll take it. Not only am I going to live forever, but I’ve been told that I’m slim for the first time in years.

6. Optimists outlive pessimists.

I am very much the optimist. Having survived two near-death experiences and been arrested and tried for a crime that I did not commit, I tend to believe that things will work out fine in the end. I don’t worry about much. I’m annoyingly overconfident and relaxed.

7. People who move outlive people who sit.

In two of my three jobs, as teacher and DJ, I am on my feet all day. My writing career keeps my butt in the chair, but I’m not sitting nearly as much as I’m standing.

8. Churchgoers outlive non-churchgoers.

Bad news for me, although the article points out that it’s “probably because church attendance increases social support, a proven life-extender”  So as long as I ensure that my degree of social support is high, then I should be okay. This is a strong argument in favor of atheists marrying people of faith.  We get the best of both worlds.

Also, golf provides a great deal of social support, and I play more golf than I would ever attend church.

9. Mormons outlive non-Mormons.

Oh well. I’ve read a great deal about Joseph Smith and consider him a fraud at best, so becoming a Mormon is not in my future. However, this mortality benefit is attributed to LDS Church doctrine, “which promotes longer life among its members by discouraging use of tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea, and recommending a nutritious diet.”  I have never used tobacco and do not drink alcohol, coffee, or tea. So perhaps I am receiving some of the benefits of this mortality indicator without having to ascribe to the lunacy Joseph Smith.

10. The rich outlive the poor.

I’m not rich, but I’m not poor, either. And I’m working hard on being rich.

11. Light drinkers outlive abstainers.

This one annoyed me. I drink rarely and was told for years that this was a good thing. Now I’m considering drinking a glass of wine every night, even though I don’t like wine.

12. TV avoiders outlive TV devotees.

I average less than 60 minutes of television a day, which is low in comparison to US average of 4.5 hours per day. That’s a lot of television, people.  You’re practically pickling yourself in front of the boob tube!

13. Hawaii residents outlive everyone else in the United States.

I’m not moving to Hawaii. No NFL, MLB or NBA teams. Also, I have been told that it is exceedingly expensive.

14. Women outlive men.

Oh well.

15. Literate people outlive illiterate people

I can read!

Overall, I think I did quite well, scoring a definite positive on eight of the fourteen applicable indicators and doing fairly well on three others.

Not to mention I don’t bruise, almost never get sick, haven’t thrown up since 1983 and have been brought back from the brink of death twice.

I’m practically indestructible.

So why am I so afraid?