How many days do we have left? No one knows. Well, no one knows until the last one ends, but by then it’s too late to matter. A while back, I got to thinking about this and decided to make a guess of how many days I might have left.
So I looked up the average lifespan of an average caucasian man in the US (79.12 years, it seems) and add that many days to by birthday. So as I’m writing this, I’ve lived 17,537 days and if my lifespan hits the average exactly, I’ll live 11,364 more. Of course, none of those are guaranteed, and who’s to say I won’t live to be 100! So it’s not an exact science, guessing how many days you have left. For that matter, it’s not really a science at all! But it is a worthwhile thought experiment, and seems suitable for the weekend of my 48th birthday.
There is a bit of tension in these 11,364 days left. On the one hand, I’m past the half-way point in an average lifespan. There are fewer days ahead than behind (unless I live to be 96). When I consider it this way, I’m inclined to panic. I say to myself, “you better hurry up and get the things done! the clock is ticking!!!” And yet, on the other hand, I know that whenever I’m in a hurry and in my most “getting the things done” frame of mind, I tend to miss the most important things, rush through the most important conversations, overlook the most important people. In fact, when I’m hurried and driven, I’m usually not at my best. I’m not fully present to the people I encounter.
Maybe the path of wisdom is to say to myself, “you better slow down and be present in each and every moment! the clock is ticking and once each tick passes, you’ll never get it back.” I suspect the sweet spot is in the tension, that combination of focus and presence that gets the things done without completely losing sight of the experience of doing them.
I’ll have to sit with that a while and let it sink in, but later. Right now, I have a few more things to do.