I actually thought long and hard before naming this blog Not Immortal. I almost named it Time Is Time (as a counterpoint to the phrase, “time is money”) and Dead One Day (which seemed a bit too much).
The reason I kept the macabre, slightly-depressing title is because we need the reminder. None of us likes to think about death. We, as humans, are wonderful rationalizers:
- I can have another brownie. I’ll take the stairs to my office tomorrow.
- I’ll play $50 more at the craps table and then, win or lose, I’ll walk away.
- I don’t need to wear my seat belt. I’m only going up the street to get groceries.
We use this skill most effectively when we bury the knowledge of our own impending demise. I think I ponder death a lot, and still I can go days not thinking about it.
Why shouldn’t we bury those thoughts, you ask? What’s the point in obsessing over mortality; we can’t change it anyway.
I agree that spending time thinking about death itself is wasteful. The key thing is remembering that the time between right now and your last day is not a vast expanse. People constantly write poems and songs on the “if today was your last day” theme, and when you ask people, they’ll have some pretty clear thoughts on how to spend their last day. Usually taking a job and shoving it ranks high on those lists.
Why are we so good at seeing the need to live differently on our last day, but so bad at seeing the same need for our last days?
I read an interesting article about a guy who uses one of those countdown clocks (17 days until vacation!) on his computer to remind him how many days he has left on Earth. I used his calculations and figure I have around 12,000 days left (less if I don’t get better at resisting buildings with drive-thru windows!). In one sense, that seems like a big number. But when I think that I’ve already had more than that many, I get more nervous.
So, that’s why this blog is here. Partly for me as a reminder to live conscious of my mortality and partly as a way to help you do the same. I want to explore the balance between using our limited time wisely and enjoying the time we have.
Hopefully the mood around here will be sunnier than the title implies…
Photo courtesy of spoonmonkey.