Leading Voices

Share this post on your profile with a comment of your own:

Successfully Shared!

View on my Profile
Back to Blog Homepage

Memento Mori

Remember You Will Die

January 8, 2023


Sorry to start the new year on a downer note, but a fundamental truth is that our time on this planet is limited and in a relatively short amount of time we will all be gone. The end is headed this way sooner than we think. Fact.

Please refer to the following link: Social Security Actuarial Life Table

The linked actuarial life table enables you to look up your current age and gender and see your life expectancy. For example, at age 67, I have a projected 16.7 years of life remaining. Leslie, my 66-year-old wife, has a projected 19.9 years remaining. Jeff, my 39-year-old son has a projected 39.6 years remaining. My 91-year-old father has a projected 3.8 years remaining.

Check your numbers. Actuarial tables do not lie. Reality testing. Fact. Hard truth.

Many of us, myself included, refrain from thinking about the unpleasant topic of death and dying. “Refrain” is really too kind of a word — “actively avoid and repress” is more to the point. Some of us have an attitude of unbridled optimism that we will live indefinitely, even though we know that is truly not the case.

The sad truth of the matter is that not only do we have finite years left on this planet, but also that the final years are often not the best years, and one’s quality of life often becomes compromised by health and aging issues. Life is fragile and if you are fortunate enough to live a long life, your body will inevitably break down. Father Time always wins. Without exception. And the expected fragility of aging can be relatively kind in comparison to the illnesses and disabilities that may strike at any age.

Steve Jobs died on October 5th, 2011. Not a day goes by when I do not pay silent homage to him for the brilliance of the creation of the iPhone and all the conveniences it affords.

Steve Jobs has offered many astute insights on the topic of death (and life):

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. Death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now, the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma –living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Bottom Line:  Be well aware of your own mortality as that puts everything in true perspectiveOur time on this planet is limited, so “carpe diem”…seize the day, follow your heart and go for it!  And at the same time, nurture your body to stave off health and aging issues for as long as possible.


Send this to a friend