It is difficult to describe my thoughts and feelings as I fed my father the last meals of his life. As I watched him lose his 20+ year battle to cancer I was not thinking about work, student loans, side projects or my aspirations.
I was present.
Death does this. When you juxtapose death of a loved one next to [insert personal problem here] it just seems trivial by comparison.
When my dad passed I wanted a way to feel that loss everyday. Not because I wanted to feel the pain of losing him but because I wanted to have a built in process to recalibrate the significance I assigned to my daily challenges.
Enter Google Calendar
Shortly after my dad passed, I created an all day monthly recurring event to mark his death and remember that day in Google Calendar. I soon went on to add the death anniversaries of relatives, friends and even pets.
By designing a system to bring death to my consciousness, I’m able to enhance my appreciation of everyday experiences by recognizing their inherent scarcity — which is precisely the thing that gives life, and our experiences in it, value and significance.
P.S. Thanks to Tim Ferriss and a recent podcast he did with Alain de Botton which inspired me to share this. In the episode (at 00:39:30 and 001:07:40) Tim discusses the value of being reminded of death.