This may change your mind about spending another night in front of Netflix instead of, for instance, calling your parents and telling them that you love them: Apparently, this chart from Flowing Data can help you predict how many years you have left to live. Whether knowing when you'll die is a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen, but if you're really curious... well, here's a peek into the future for you. Just be warned: Once you've seen it, you can't unsee it.
Flowing Data doesn't work its proverbial magic through tarot cards or palm reading or tea leaves; the chart uses data from the Social Security Administration to simulate possible lifetimes. You enter your age and gender, and it runs through many possible simulations — those dots falling are your possible points of demise. If you're relatively young, some simulations result in you living only a few more years; some predict you'll live to be over 100. But most cluster around predicting your death around your mid-80s, if you're a 25-year-old woman (like me).
This is higher than the life expectancy of all women, by the way. Women die in the United States at after an average of 81 years and two months; men die younger, at an average of 76 years and 5 months. (Women tend to live longer for a variety of reasons — we go to the doctor more, we engage in healthier behaviors, and our bodies simply last longer, perhaps because we have more estrogen and two X chromosomes instead of just one.) The reason for the difference between the life expectancy you have on this chart and the life expectancy you have at birth is because average life expectancy includes people who die in infancy. Simply put, the older you get, the more likely it is that you'll die at an older age. A 70-year-old is more likely to make it to 100 than a 35-year-old, for the simple reason that the 70-year-old has had more years where she could have died but didn't.
Of course, this chart assumes there won't be major medical advances in our lifetimes that could dramatically increase life expectancy. After all, in 1900 — just over a hundred years ago — the life expectancy worldwide was only 31. And many scientists, believe it or not, think that the first human being to live to 150 is already alive today. Who knows —in 40 years, maybe we'll all be uploading our personalities to computers and keeping our souls alive for millennia.
Hey — just trying to cheer you up. You Only Live Once, after all.
Head to Flowing Data to check out the interactive chart yourself.