living and dying


It’s been a rough summer in my house. We lost a friend, a father, a fighting soul. We are derailed and left looking for solid footing. And asking the big questions a bit more than usual. There are people who think that death needs to be re-designed. Maybe they’re right, but those aren’t the questions that concern me right now.

I want to know how to best use the time I have left. My friend had plans. He was only a few years older than me. He was brilliant and had done much professionally to make our world what it is. Thank him for the beautiful photos that your iPhone takes. He had plans to retire, to travel, to play music. To sell his too-big-house and live somewhere he loved. And he had plans to watch his daughter graduate college, to walk her down the aisle, to enjoy her adult self.


As painful as death is to witness and to experience second hand, it is also an opportunity to affirm life itself. That’s how the people at Tikker look at it. They’ve designed a watch (of sorts) that tracks how much time you have left. It’s a brilliant concept and a thoughtful look at time and what it means. Time passes whether you use it joyfully or not. Tikker allows you to witness the passage of your moments on your wrist. A constant reminder to live. As an active verb.

And if you want to know how much time you have left, there are many calculators out there. They are about as predictable as an earthquake, but it is a fun exercise. I used the one put out by University of Pennsylvania. According to them, my life expectancy is 94.82 years. But there’s a 25% chance I’ll live longer than 103.86 years! According to Social Security’s actuarial tables, I only have 27.6 years left. Either way, my plan is to use the precious moments I have left consciously and well.

Rilke wrote : Death is our friend, precisely because it brings us into absolute and passionate presence with all that is here, that is natural, that is love.

So I’d suggest to you, stare death squarely in the face. Get to know death and make friends with death, because death will remind you every moment that you are alive. Live well, do work that is fulfilling, love well and often, touch the people around you, be kind. Maybe, if we live our lives rightly, when death does come we will welcome it with just a bit more peace.

Keep in touch,