Ever since I was a wee-tot, I was comfortable with the idea of death. Probably had to do with
- my mom’s cancer diagnosis when I was six and her untimely death when I was eight;
- my dad being a priest (I was his perennial + 1 at funerals); and
- my dad’s comfort around the topic of death (he started prepping me for his demise at the ripe age 15).
All this thinking about death has been life-affirming. I think about and act on what really matters to me — being kind, pulling my weight, laughing, cultivating deeper connections with people I adore, continuously exploring and learning about my internal life as well as the world around me.
That’s big picture. However, when I get into the weeds of my day, I sometimes forget. With deadlines, busy-ness, and general life wrenches, I forget about the importance of the moments. I waste my time surfing mindlessly on the internet rather than surfing the waves of the ocean (my latest challenge). Listen to someone dribble on about God knows what rather than exiting the conversation diplomatically to go about my day.
All this is changing though. Several weeks ago, I finally got my one and only watch: Tikker. They call it “the happiness watch,” but my friends and family affectionately named it “the death watch.” It does what all good watches do—it tells time (yeah!), but get this: it also counts downs my life expectancy in years, months, days, hours, minutes and seconds! Using a very approximate formula that takes into account country, gender, obesity level, exercise, stress and smoking, I programmed in 48 years and 6 months…and hit “Set”. Tick. Tick. Tick. The time started moving backward. I was elated. Most of my colleagues were horrified.
One month of my life later… has the Tikker had an effect? Indeed, it has. The countdown is a constant reminder of my forgetfulness. I’m reminded to make the most of the minutes. I dance around my apartment more and generally minimized the import of what other people think of me. Life’s short, people! The watch has made me realize I have a choice about how I want to spend my time. Recently, I was listening to a meaningless meandering monologue of a friendly acquaintance. Sometimes it’s important to listen to people’s monologues, and on this given day, I looked at my watch, saw the time ticking down and realized today wasn’t one of those times.
Interested in death and dying topics? Follow me on Twitter: @jessgeev