The Finite Life

I’ve been thinking about life and how much time I have left on this earth a lot lately. Don’t get me wrong, I have no plans on dying any time soon and have no idea when I will die, I’ve just been thinking about the span of time between now and then. I’m at a point in life where I know that death will come in the not too distant future, depending on health and choices I make, maybe in the next forty years give or take.

We all go through different stages in our lives. Stage one when we’re young and know nothing about life and death, when life is long and death is a faraway abstract concept. Life is happy and safe while death is where everyone goes to heaven, even our dogs. Stage two when we’re just starting our adult lives, life is still long and we think about the here and now, with death remaining a faraway end to a life well lived. We start building a life with someone we love and begin making plans for retirement still a long way away. Stage three is when we hit our middle age; children are either grown or close to being adults themselves. This is when we start to consider death as a door around the corner but still faraway, just not as far. Retirement and a life of leisure is more on our minds than death.

Stage four is when we are of an age close to retirement, but not there yet. Depending on our health and career path we may have five to fifteen years before we may retire and ponder what we’ve accomplished and what we have left to accomplish. Stage five is when we are close to the end of life and we take stock of how we’ve lived our lives. There will be regrets and satisfaction of our past deeds.

I think I’m at stage four, I will be sixty this year, I don’t consider that to be old and if you ask Mitch he’ll tell you I certainly don’t act like a sixty year old. He constantly asks me, “How old are you?” Especially after I’ve done something a teenager would do, like drive the car into the puddles of water to make giant splashes. But now I look at what life I have left and wonder how long do I have? I picture my time left in my head as a finite number and try to figure out how long. Weird huh? I’m not trying to be depressing or am depressed I guess I just want an answer to an unanswerable question.

I think in my head that if I know how much time I have left then I will make a decision a certain way that would be different with a different time line. Screwy weird, I know. Yes I know these are the great unknowns of life and the time of death should have no bearing on the way you live your life and the choices you make, but in reality the suggestion or the hint of death plays a very real part of all our choices in life. I have decisions to make and wish I had the answer to the greatest riddle of all in order to make the right decision.

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19 thoughts on “The Finite Life

  1. I worry more that I will die super fast, and not have any time to make plans (for my stuff, for my pets). I have a living will, a DNR document with my specifics, but no will-will. Then again, I’m totally surprised I lived past 25. I mostly think of death when I’m driving – it could happen so fast.

  2. Good piece – I showed it to my human. It’s very relative to him … he’s 73. He spent a lot of time nodding. He did say the one thing he’s come to grips with is to disregard regrets. There is nothing that can be done for most so its a waste of time … and if there is, do what needs to be done.

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