Odometer Reading

18,994 days.

My heart has beaten approximately 1,899,540,442 times in total.

i have taken approximately 417,523,886 breaths in total.

The moon has orbited the earth 695 times since i was born.

30,592,757,589 miles – the distance i have traveled as the Earth revolves around the Sun.

My finger hovered over the ‘submit’ button, but i’d already missed the deadline to apply for early retirement, at least for the current offering.  “Once you submit your retirement application, it is irrevocable.”

Perhaps it’s a good thing i missed the deadline this time.  Perhaps i’m not quite ready yet.

The job i have is amazing.  i’ve returned to my wheelhouse – science and technology program management.  Getting ideas from “proof of concept” into the realm of “prototype”. Serving as translator between scientists and customers . A necessary function, and i’m good at it.

But i keep thinking about those heartbeats…  Those breaths…  Those miles….

Not a milestone birthday, but today i start my 53rd year on Earth.  At best i have 25-30 years left.  During a good portion of those years, i will run into more physical limitations. Within the next ten years the motorcycle will certainly have to go, horseback riding will cease, and adventure travel may start to include the occasional comfy cruise…

My chances to hike into Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate decrease with each passing year.

i spent the evening doing motorcycle maintenance.  Changing out a dead thermostat on the ’91 Suzuki.  Coolant flush.  Oil change.  And thinking through the future.. Not so much “What’s next?”, but “When?”

Zen and The Art of...

And wondering… “How many heartbeats do i have left?”


*Calculations extracted from this page.    Highly recommend running your own numbers…

28 thoughts on “Odometer Reading

  1. Yes, I ran my numbers. Seems I’m not doing too badly for an old gal! The next birthday is the magic number and next year it’s a significant 0…getting tired of reading obits, though.

    • i was a bit surprised that 10% of people born on the same date had died. somehow thought it would have been more, if these are global numbers…. Looking forward to cheering you on your “magic number” birthday!

    • i have visited once, and it was spectacular! taking the train, and the bus, through the winding paths wasn’t quite the same. i WILL do that trip… it’s the altitude i need to deal with! tough to prepare for that hike…

  2. I’m with Beth, do it while you can. I wish I’d been able to afford it when I could. I’d probably have taken the early retirement to have more play time. But you always have either time or money, rarely both.

    • if i retire early, i will still have enough money…. but it will reduce my income for the rest of my life if i can’t stick it out 3 more years. this time, though, it wasn’t the money. i genuinely LIKE what i do for a living… haven’t always been able to say that, but it is satisfying, for the most part, to be a contributing member of a top-notch team…

      but yes, time, or money. when i bought my first good guitar in 1985, it was because i had a full time, “big girl” job. i started grad school 3 months later, and very rarely had time to play it…

  3. Do Machu Picchu. My eldest brother (68) did so a few weeks ago – and surprised himself with how much he loved it. My partner has done it too – and I regret that I can’t.
    And happy birthday – with more to come.

    • Thank you, EC! Very exciting that your brother got to visit! It’s an amazing place! i’ve been there, but want to go in on foot next time… when i have freedom of schedule, my thought is to go live at altitude for a few weeks before the hike. That is apparently the best way to acclimate to 9,000+ feet!

  4. You have such a cool job – I wish I’d had the ability to have a job that actually meant something. The vast majority and I do mean VAST has been frankly utterly futile. Now I know many just say – it’s about earning money to live life but that just never has seemed enough for me and due to lack of talent and skills I’ve not had the ability to do anything of real value. So I’m not surprised you don’t want to retire. I’m the opposite I’d give anything to retire and am constantly shocked that people aren’t actively pushing me out the door realising that I’m not really offering much just spinning the wheels.

    I have one little moment in my working life I felt I made a difference – I’d just moved from being a Database Programmer to being a Project Manager I was tired being a techie and wanted something new, a challenge. One of the first projects they gave me was to manage the writing and implementation of some new statistical s/w on an anti-fungal drug we were developing. Now… thing was the FDA had changed the rules, so we needed all new algorithms and new lab measurements, then we needed to completely re do how we ran them across both individuals data and the data from the whole cohort on the trials. This was the safety s/w – so we couldn’t get it wrong by even a little bit. Also the people taking this drug were normally very very ill in ICUs etc. with multiple conditions and huge concomitant drug issues. Oh yes and the timescales were… challenging … to say the least about 6 months start to finish with a team of four programmers. We did it… just… That drug went on to be approved it saves about 6,000 – 8,000 lives in the USA alone a year now – people who probably wouldn’t have survived without as there was no other effective treatment then for some of the lung infections we were particularly targeting. I suppose I am lucky that I’ve just that one 6 month period where I wasn’t implementing a new HR system or struggling with daft edicts from the government over how to make research available open access and how to capture all that info for reporting to them and the funding councils etc. and actually felt I did something that changed the world in a positive way.

    I’m 18,879 days today apparently. Still I suppose what is more the issue is how many left? I lot less than that! Now to try and make the most of today…

    • You had that moment on the job… it’s like golf, in that it is the “shot that keeps you coming back”. i’ve often said that my ONLY career goal is to be “a contributing member of a high performance team doing something that matters”. Seems simple enough, but it’s not… having all three elements come together, as they did as you worked the s/w for pharmaceutical safety, is as good as it ever gets….

      i’ve had a few runs like that over the course of my 32 years in research and development. i ended up going through management, supervision, and other organizationally defined leadership positions….. only to be quite surprised to find myself back in the trenches as i run down the field one more time…. on my way out the door. i seem to be at the beginning of another such run, and it is remarkable!

      you, sir, have made a tremendous difference in the world – perhaps not always through your career, but through your work to help others on the road to recovery. By itself, that is a life well-lived!

  5. Interesting to come here and read this post on MY birthday, which is today. Today I am 61 years old. 22, 280 days. If I wanted to, I could definitely ride a horse or a motorcycle. I don’t think you should put limitations on what you think you will be able to do in ten years! When she was 60 years old, my mother spent the summer on the Appalachian Trail and hiked over 700 miles. Now she is 86 and still keeps a garden and grows most of the vegetables she eats all year, canning and freezing her excess.

    I think it is very interesting that you want to hike to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate. I just want to make it to Machu Picchu! My particular goal is not to do it on the cheap, though., I really want to stay in that horrendously expensive hotel just outside the gates overnight so I can experience the sunset and sunrise there, and be there before the busloads of other tourists arrive. But I want to see it, and have ever since I saw the article on it in National Geographic when I was approximately 10 years old. I guess I’d better get busy and schedule that trip.

    Happy birthday, Daisyfae, and I can say sincerely it has been a real pleasure to share part of that journey with you. You are an amazing person with great wisdom and an asset to the planet.

    • Happy Birthday! And thank you for the reminder that i might not be quite as decrepit as i expect to be! Looking at my genetics, most of the poor health issues are directly related to lifestyle choices. The fact that my Mom is still at it, at 85 years old, surviving double bypass, COPD, congestive heart failure and lung cancer should tell me that if i DO take care of myself, and work at being more fit, perhaps i can stay on that horse (steel or flesh) for a little bit longer…

      When i visited Machu Picchu it was in October. Even crawling with visitors, it was a phenomenal experience! i don’t always want to ‘go back’ somewhere i’ve been, but Peru, and Cambodia (Angkor Wat) top the list of “must do again” items!

      Likewise, it’s been wonderful to get to know you! i sort of giggle now at the history – how it almost didn’t happen. Experiencing something similar with a local narcissist, who impeached my character and lied about me to craft her own personal victimhood…. and kept lovely people away from me. All of that has come full circle, and is now merrily chomping on her shorts, and all i had to do was wait for the truth to show up. It did. It usually does! 🙂

  6. Happy Birthday, Daisyfae! Mine was a couple of weeks ago, and the ticking just gets louder. Glad to hear you’re taking it in stride. Not surprised, as grace is one of the qualities you seem to possess in abundance.

    • Thank you, Chris! Sometimes when i look in the mirror, i can visualize the clock over my head (analog, not digital…). And yeah, the noise from that thing…. geez…. makes it hard to go to sleep some nights!

  7. Happy birthday, dear. I’m happy to have know you for a little bit of that. You’re interesting.

    I’m with Graham. If you like your work, truly enjoy it, then for cryin’ out loud don’t stop. Why would you? You’re so lucky to have that gift. I’m prepping to go to a job that I care little about. You’ve somehow beat that game. Stick with it. Nice to have the option though, innit?

    • Thanks, EoPS! “Interesting”. Hmmm… Either high praise, or something like that old Chinese blessing/curse (“May you live in interesting times.”) i’ll take the compliment…

      i’ve been incredibly lucky in my career… backed into a co-op job when i was 19, and somehow managed to NOT fuck it up over the past 33 years. i worked hard for long enough to earn some freedom. it’s a very good gig – and there is a remote possibility that it could get even better. It is best to ride it out to the finish line in a few years…

  8. Happy belated birthday, daisyfae! I can’t see you slowing down in ten years. (I’m more physically active at 67 than I was at 57.) You’ll still be tearing up the highway and goin’ full tilt boogie into your 80s!

    • i have every intention of running as hard as i can for as long as i can – and you are one of my inspirations, dear Ms. Trash! i’m trying to prepare for the reality crunch – that my body won’t work anymore. i’ve battled through several odd body part failures for the past few years – seems to be more of them. i’m going to get as fit as i can, and stay fit, but things are going to break…. but yeah… it’s on… speedball to the finish line!

  9. At least you can dream of retirement! lol
    As my Father says, when you love what you do, it’s hard to walk away.
    He should know, at 75 he still hasn’t walked away! (He’s a Paramedic who technically retired from “working the streets” 20 years ago … now he teaches young police and fireman to be EMS Professionals)

    You’ll know when it’s time.

    • That’s awesome! You’re Dad obviously loves what he does – and clearly still makes a difference or he’d have been guided out toward the pasture! i hope to be useful – whether tending bar, playing music, or teaching english as a second language, wherever i land…. that’s as good as it gets for me…

      and yes. i’ll know it. i just think about it a lot more these days…

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