Cafe Witness

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Sobering Thought

As I was laying in bed yesterday, it occurred to me that, in all likelihood, I'll be dead in 60 years.

I'm 30 now, so -- at best -- that means I'm 1/3 of the way to my grave.

Not that it bothers me. But it does get me thinking...

When I go, will I have lived a life I can be proud of?

Will I have accomplished most of the goals I pursued?

Will I have seen and done things that made my life worthwhile?

I suppose the answer to those questions will be up to me, in my final hours. But I'm also aware that the fuel for those answers will be found over the next 60 years or so. That means every choice suddenly takes on a bit more weight.

Suddenly, "just getting by" doesn't seem worthwhile.

Suddenly, "living comfortably" doesn't seem good enough.

Instead, I'm well aware that I have a LOT to do on the road to a life I can remember with pleasure and contentment in my final hours, instead of frustration and regret.

Seasonal cliché? Possibly. But nonetheless relevant.

How are YOU doing on your road toward the Great Unknown?

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15 Comments:

  • It won't matter Justin - you'll be dead. Just have a good time until that day comes.

    By Anonymous Michael Bailey, at 4:10 PM  

  • I downloaded the "Days Left" counter for my Mac dock for the # of days until I turn 30. When I turn 30, I will die. (Kidding... I'll just start the time over for another milestone date that I want to get as much in as possible before reaching...)

    By Blogger Marina Martin, at 4:13 PM  

  • Considering all the medical research advancements you are prob. going to live to be 150* years old. So suddenly 30 is the new 20.

    * if you can afford the medication

    By Blogger Vergel Evans, at 4:16 PM  

  • I just don't want to die knowing i drifted through life not changing a damn thing or at least helping someone else out. The question is what do you do so that all your hard work you've been doing carries on after you die. Who's gonna pick up where you left off?

    By Anonymous Jesse Hambley, at 4:18 PM  

  • Odd, but I've been pondering on this a good deal lately. When I was 22 a few friends and I were hanging out at Chief's and my buddy piped up with "Hey we only get to do all this three more times." At 36 its decidedly less than three now, but I find myself wanting to pursue more than just my job. I want to get a phd and do something meaningful not for my only glory, but just because I think I can and it be nice to find out. I want to climb Everest before I'm 45. Its just so easy to get caught up in day to day life that goals start to fade and then next thing you know its fourteen years later and your pondering old thoughts in a blog comment. Muchos Gracias for the wakeup/reminder.

    By Blogger Scott, at 4:23 PM  

  • As I approach 60 (I'm 58), I have to tell you, that sixty is the new forty! Seriously though, I'm listened to an academic paper at a conference today titled "Extending Adolescence: Rejuveniles, Kidults, Adultescents, Grups, and Peter Pans as Late Modern Forms of Personhood." I suggest you grab one of these and let the years fall as they may.

    By Blogger Bob Rotenberg, at 4:24 PM  

  • Live every day as if it were your last, because it just might be... as no man is gauranteed another day. My approach to life changed greatly when my wife had cancer, one that we thought might kill her. We started asking questions like, "...if I was going to die, where would I want to be and what would I want to be doing with the rest of my life..." and in asking those questions we found the answers to what we should be doing and the dreams we should be following. My dad died a person who always talked about his dreams of where and how he'd like to live when he retired, but never did anything he talked about, I learned from that too... Don't count on medicine or technology saving you or even living another 60 years, people die of stupid stuff everyday, you could be next. Do what you dream of today, or at lesst start making steps.

    By Anonymous MaxWeb, at 4:31 PM  

  • hey now, we don't like sobering thoughts here, on the webz... Haha, ya,depressing thoughts and all that, I get enough of that from my family.

    By Blogger Philip Crow, at 6:03 PM  

  • Very thoughtful post, thank you. I just turned 40 and feel like part of me is just a kid and will always be. My former neighbor lived with a lot of chutzpah and zest for life well into her 90s. She's my role model. THat being said, I agree "just getting by" doesn't cut it anymore. I'm going for major prosperity, on every level.

    By Anonymous vicequeenmaria, at 6:08 PM  

  • I had these same sort of thoughts when I turned 25. Can't say I've figured things out, but I'm planning on setting goals and working to achieve them.

    By Blogger Michael, at 8:19 PM  

  • I guess it IS the season to think about this stuff. My personal mantra right now is "wait for no one".

    Don't wait to jump in, just do it! (Whatever "it" is...) That'll make deathbed reflection more satisfying. Hell, it'll make sipping-a-cup-of-coffee reflection that much more satisfying.

    By Blogger righteoustetris, at 9:20 AM  

  • I gave a one sentence "best man" speech once that was simply "Live every day like your last and every night like your first." I stole it from something I had read at some point.

    I try to make that my ethos every day. Sometimes it's easier to do than others, but it's always what I come back to.

    By Anonymous Jim, at 1:06 PM  

  • Justin,

    you're realizing these things about 30 years ahead of the average joe...fortunately, you're the atypical Justin!

    Create a focus, create a community, create a legacy. My tai chi teacher doesn't think a legacy, as such, is necessary, but if those giants upon whose shoulders we stand didn't create a legacy, where would we be?

    Do you realize if you stand in one place in Wilkinsburg, PA, you can see in one direction the legacy of Buckminster Fuller, and in the other the legacy of the first stepped pyramids? :-)

    ..alex.

    By Blogger Alex Landefeld, at 7:31 PM  

  • Very well written. You got every point explained. Loved the whole article! Many thanks!
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