How long do you think you could expect to live in the period of Enlightenment? Fifty years, maybe sixty?
Well, while definitely exciting times, the global life expectancy back then was only 29 years of age. I would have been seen as old relative to the average age, yet in the 21st century, I’m still considered to be quite young.
Less than a century ago, people died from a whole lot of basic injuries and sicknesses. Take for example the son of US president, Calvin Coolidge. In 1924, 16 year old Calvin Jr. died due to an infected blister from a game of tennis.
Contrastingly, in this Post-Enlightenment time, our health and our life expectancies have flourished. When you think about achievements of some of the greats of those times, despite their young age, the question should be… What do we do with our time?
If you add the fact that life was so much less efficient without things like cars, microwaves and emails, it’s even more mind boggling. But maybe we are using our efficient tools to make us less efficient. So much of our time has been filled with things that didn’t exist before, for example, watching TV and scrolling through social media.
It has been on Counterpoint the last 2 weeks that I noticed how much this applies to the next generation. The quality relationships they built, deep ideas they discussed and meaningful moments they took advantage of in less than one week was more than they usually have in months and this is because they disconnected from some of these distractions to reconnect to themselves.
As we approach Rosh Hashana in less than a month and begin another year, we should be asking ourselves if we are not just using our extra years wisely, but the extra days, hours, minutes and even seconds...