100 Years, How To Live It

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We do not know how long our life span will be. Maybe 100 years. But, what we do have control over is how we choose to LIVE IT. Here's how…

The song “100 Years” by Five For Fighting came on the radio today.  You know the one, if not I’m sure you are headed to YouTube to give it a listen:

Fifteen there’s still time for you

Time to buy and time to lose

Fifteen, there’s never a wish better than this

When you only got a hundred years to live

For legal reasons, I will not post the entire song here.

Basically, the “100 Years” song by Five For Fighting breaks down life in little snippets. It is a beautiful song, one that makes you stop and think about life. We do hope you give it a listen.

After the first couple of verses, it does not stand a chance to be realistic. I know it is a song. And I understand that most of us turn to music to escape reality.

Yet time after time (yes, another song reference) in hearing the song “100 Years” my mind wanders to the life expectancy of a person. As well as, what does the definition of living mean. These thoughts may come from my time in the insurance field. And maybe a little from an incurable medical condition that made me rethink my meaning of life. 

Part 1

Anyway, let us tackle the first area, life expectancy. So, the average lifespan of a male in the United States is around 75 years and a female is around 80 years. Multiple data sites show similar and change ever so slightly each year.

Of course, the song is referencing 100 years. It’s a catchy number, so we will cut them some slack. But not too much, since we are going to use our 80-year reference. To me, this is more realistic in the amount of time most of us will walk this earth.

Now, let us break the 80 years up to see how many years we truely do LIVE: 

Average Female Life Expectancy

Less Childhood years since we don’t know what “living” is

Less Elderly years from 70 to 80 when we may not be ‘living’ life

TOTAL ‘living’ years 





Now the second portion of “100 years” is something you may think about or have thought about and did not realize it. Of these 50 years, we have to ‘live,’ how much of it do we really LIVE? 

First, we must think about and answer the question: “What does living mean”? Is it the expectation of what you are going to do in your retirement years? Or was it during your college frat party years?  

For us (I’m including my husband here) we feel ‘living’ is not having to be stuck in a dead-end job that we hate. Not working paycheck to paycheck, to still not be able to take a vacation or enjoy life. Notice I did not say full-time travel in an RV here. This is the ultimate dream for us, but does not define our personal definition of the word ‘living.’

Here is another verse from "100 Years" that may make you think about life and your meaning of it.

I’m forty five for a moment
The sea is high
And I’m heading into a crisis
Chasing the years of my life

Part 2

With the song break over, now we are ready for a little more math.

Many of you may agree that ‘living’ is having the freedom to not work, having little to no barriers holding you back from life. For this reason, we would subtract the average working years of an adult in the United States. In our eyes, the years would be from age 20 to age 62 (early retirement – if you can). That would equal 42 years where you have either been working or in college right out of high school.

By taking away the ‘non-living’ years from the total ‘living’ years we calculated above, we can quickly see how many years we have to live to the fullest:

Living years as outlined above

Less the working years – especially if you hate your job(s)

That gives you from age 62 to 70 to ‘live life’



8 years

Wow, that’s a little gloomy, isn’t it?!  I do hope you stashed away a good amount of money during those 42 working years so you can have some fun. Hopefully, you were able to retire early, so you can enjoy the full 8 years we’ve quickly estimated. Maybe you were ahead of the game and had fun during the working years. Best of all, maybe you were lucky enough not to have a medical condition that will drown you in bills. 

Life is unpredictable is what we want to stress here. What I outlined above is a very rough mathematical equation to make us all think.  We do not know how long our life span will actually be. We do, however, have control over how we choose to LIVE IT! 

For my husband, that was stepping away from his high paying and highly stressful career that was coming close to causing him health problems. For me, it took an illness (Gastroparesis) to realize life is too short and to make the best of it now. You can read more about our personal “why we choose to RV full-time” HERE.

Silly as it may be, at the age of 40 we made a bucket list. This helped us focus on what we both really wanted out of this precious life. We are so glad we did because this is what spawned our desire to start “Adventure In RV Life” as full-time RVer’s in 2018. And, having been together for close to 20 years already, we were sure glad our buck lists were similar (haha).

Now the question is, how will you live LIFE to the fullest in those 100 Years? 

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Melissa McElfresh

Melissa McElfresh

In 2012 I was diagnosed with Gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), which made me realize life is too short and not to take simple things for granted. As an avid indoor-girl with allergies, I did not go on hikes of any sort. But, one day my Marine husband, Don, asked if I would go on a 'nature walk' with him. It was on the paved Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park. I went and was hooked, eager for our next adventure! The desire to see new places, meet new people, experience new cultures, has aided me to share with you my new adventure.

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We are sharing our adventures to not only document our full-time living in a 5th wheel but to provide others with information.  Our extensive research involved searching for answers to these questions: how to begin this lifestyle, what RV is best to live in full-time and what jobs could we do to support our dream.  However, we did not find a lot of answers out there that pertained to our quest.  Quickly we realized people choose this lifestyle and their RV for many different reasons.  There is no right or wrong answer.  We are here to provide you with another perspective.

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