“Life is short”, the saying goes. But how short is it really? The answer of course is no one knows but the one thing that seems pretty certain is our corporeal existence will not go on forever. You may live a longer than average life or one that is shorter. When you begin staring at this and working to internalize it Mary Oliver's infamous question feels suddenly more important, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” If you’d like something or many things to happen that are not currently taking place are you merely hoping they come to pass or are you taking steps to make them happen?
The other day I recalled having before come across Kevin Kelly talk about estimating when he would die and then creating a clock that counted down towards his ultimate demise. Intrigued by this I looked up a series of life projection guides and after taking three settled on the age of 86. I then plugged the number of years I have remaining into an app Kelly referenced called Countdown Timer. At the time of writing this it says "17,891 days left". It’s interesting to see it and realize this is the highest that number will ever be. While in reality I may live years beyond that, or fall far short, it’s interesting to be reminded each day that “the clock is ticking.”
Of the things I still want to make happen in my life I find it interesting to ask, “If I’m not acting on it now then when? Should I want till day 16,000? 14,000? 10,000?" Since it's easy to get caught up in life's daily grind, I hope a visual reminder like this will keep me from slipping into complacency too often. Might as well get while the gettin’s good!
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die,
discover that I had not lived.”
Henry David Thoreau