I have to confess I was a little alarmed to read that life expectancy has, in this year of our Lord, 2018, stalled. I’m not sure whether this means I had better hurry up and finish this or 100 is looking pretty unrealistic.
As always it looks like the female of the species has it made what with her life expectancy of 82.9 while us poor blokes will, with a bit of luck just about make it to 79.2. I can only assume that we get a shorter period of time on this mortal coil because we work harder and therefore get knackered, quicker. It’s either that or a reflection and consequence of the time Jeremy *unt spent as our bloody useless Health Minister.
Anyway, this shocking revelation girded my loins and made me do a bit of research. And I’ll tell you one thing, it’s a whole lot better than ‘living’ in the Middle Ages. Apparently, if you were born to a wench between 1276 and 1300 your life expectancy was horrendously, low. You could, if you were lucky, expect a lifetime of tilling the fields and shovelling cow shit until you were 31! Mind you, if you spent most of what little precious time-off you had repairing the holes in your mud house walls and replacing the straw on the roof (if you had one), then I bet going that early was quite a relief.
To be truthful, if you were lucky enough to make it to the magical 31, then there was a decent chance you might make it to 50 (which was really, really old). However, maybe it wasn’t so good being a woman and reaching that ‘great age (50)’, I’m sure because of all the wrinkles and haggard looks you would have picked up along the way, the odds on you being accused of being a witch were high. Maybe a 30 ish life expectancy for a woman was a nice age to go, after all.
It’s quite interesting to note that the diet then, was by today’s standards quite healthy. Indeed, I’m surprised that they didn’t live a little longer what with the outside life (fresh air) combined with the lentils. But then again, what with everyday consisting of bread, parsnips and turnips followed by er… bread, parsnips and turnips one can’t help wondering why there weren’t more suicides.
There was of course meat, but as usual the good stuff like venison was reserved for the rich. Indeed, they made it their business to stop the Commoners, under pain of death hunting for deer. Very thoughtfully leaving wild pig and old chickens for the exhausted peasants.
I’m not sure if longevity is a blessing anyway. I look around me and see those that do live to a great age ‘living’ a life without quality. Extra years of being ignored, under-valued and hidden away to be less of ‘ a burden’. Not nice.