Until recently, human life spans were very unreliable. Our ancestors counterbalanced this insecurity by pursuing various non-egocentered strategies. With the life span's increasing length and standardization, these became obsolete and were abandoned. Today, almost all of us have the chance of living life to its maturity. In order to make full use of it, however, we must plan full-size life careers from a very early stage. Otherwise the years gained will largely be wasted. The article starts by summarizing demographic development over the last three centuries. These "hard facts" are then correlated with evidence from other sources, for example from fairy tales and sayings. Finally, recent developments in Japan, the country with the highest life expectancy in the world today, are discussed.
How to Cite
Imhof, A. E., (1987) “Planning Full-Size Life Careers”, Ethnologia Europaea 17(1), 5–23. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.1368