How Will You Spend the 1 Billion Seconds You Have Left to Live?

We’re all hurtling towards the abyss

Kevin Ann
Kevin Ann
Nov 13, 2019 · 5 min read
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Tick. Tick. Tick.

Time is ticking down.

3 seconds went by. 3 seconds that you’ll never get back. We only have a limited number of them left. About a billion seconds, give or take.

More precisely, 1 billion seconds is 31.7 years. Those lucky among us will have a bit more time left, and those less lucky will have a bit less. But one thing that everyone shares is that they have only a limited number of seconds left, and it’s not so different.

It truly is terrifying to me what happens when my life ends. Sometimes I unintentionally think of it right as I settle down to sleep, as if that was my last conscious moments alive before going into the abyss. It is terrifying.

There is utility in this terror, however, it serves to enhance the importance, value, and meaning of every perception and experience.


Since we’re facing non-existence and nothingness soon, what things actually matter?

Stresses from a job, or little every day annoyances, and any regrets, fears, and anxieties are all irrelevant compared to that nothingness.

It’s just mindblowing to consider what nothingness may feel like, since all we’ve experienced is feeling something and not “nothing.”

Even when we’re asleep, we may feel like we exist. Of course, it isn’t a fully conscious existence, but it feels very close. It certainly is not “nothingness.”

Perhaps that nothingness may be similar to before we were born? There was just nothing there at all.

Existence Feels Effortless, Inevitable, and Eternal

Simply existing feels so natural.

We forget that it’s a miracle that we’re alive, conscious, and inhabit a biological body through no choice or deservingness of our own.

We can open our eyes and see the world around us effortlessly.

We can hear sounds around us.

We can feel the warmth of the sun.

We can taste our food.

We can smell the flowers.

We can move our bodies and never stop to think of how.

It all just happens. Existence just feels so natural, as if we’e always been in this state.

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What Matters?

When facing death and non-existence, almost nothing seems to matter.

This may lead to the idea that if nothing will eventually matter anyways, what’s the point of existence in the first place?

My view is that the very act of being alive and conscious is the ends in itself.

We are the universe coming alive and being self-aware. That’s a worthy and special thing in itself. It’s even more special since we may experience it with those close to us, our friends and family.


Life Extension

Of course, some may believe that coming advances in biomedical technology will permit us to extend our lives to for decades, perhaps so dramatically that the remaining expected life we in any given 24 hour period is more than an additional 24 hours, so that we reach the so-called longevity escape velocity.

Others may believe that neural prostheses and mind uploads will permit us to live indefinitely uploaded to the cloud.

I do believe these completely possible eventually, but the question is whether they’ll be around in a few decades when I’m nearing my life expectancy?

It is not a given. Unfortunate events such as accidents and disease can end your life very rapidly, sometimes without your even remotely expecting it such as in the case of car accidents.

So we need to live for the now, not for a distant future that may not arrive since we may die far before we get there.

Artificial Intelligence

There does remain the possibility that a smarter-than human Artificial Intelligence system may arrive on the scene and become more powerful than humans.

What happens if it were imprison and enslave us? What if we were subject to torture for 1 trillion years of “subjective” time by an AI?

This would be a scenario where death would be better than living, since at least you wouldn’t feel that trillion years worth of torture in subjective time.

Friends and Family

The original impetus of this post is seeing the terrible deaths or unfortunate disease of a friends from across various stages and contexts of my life thus far.


I’m very lucky not to have experienced the death of an immediate family member, but those in close relative networks have died.

One after long agonizing battles with Cancer.

Another walked into a routine heart procedure, but needed to be stabilized in a coma from which he never would wake up from. It’s just mind-boggling to think that you may never have a chance to say good bye to those who have been a part of your life for years or decades. One day and they’re gone.


Sometimes I check out the obituaries of my high school or childhood classmates.

It’s always shocking to see when I find out someone who is frozen in time as if I just saw them yesterday, in their teenage years, are now passed away complete with a picture of their adult selves that I never met.

A handful of people from high school have already died, one from Cancer and another presumably from a overdose. Another from the propeller of a plane that he was disembarking as a teacher. This was a very shocking one, even almost a decade after it happened.

Some people I know have been diagnosed with Cancer and undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. I can only hope that they don’t suffer too much and completely heal.

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Personal Life

It’s good to write such posts like this once in a while.

They help me to stop and reflect why I’m overthinking or feeling any negative thoughts. All problems seem to disappear or diminish in magnitude that they feel completely unimportant. Annoyances about my personal life, about politics, about any disappointments simply disappear.

Writing like this helps to enhance the rest of my thoughts and experiences for the rest of my billion seconds left to live. I hope it reminds or inspires you to take the time to reflect and write down thoughts about how you can spend the rest of your billion seconds left alive too.

What truly matters?

Most things simply don’t. So we must strive to think of what we want in the next billion seconds left. We don’t have much time left.

Time is ticking down.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

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Kevin Ann

Written by

Kevin Ann

AI/full-stack software engineer | trader/investor/entrepreneur | physics phd

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +721K people. Follow to join our community.

Kevin Ann

Written by

Kevin Ann

AI/full-stack software engineer | trader/investor/entrepreneur | physics phd

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +721K people. Follow to join our community.

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