Is Time on Our Side?

Not as much as you think it is.

Why would anyone want to be constantly reminded of their death?

That’s the question addressed in the second edition of “On the Clock,” my video series in which I explore what it’s like living with a countdown clock — a clock that’s counting down to the (theoretical) end of my life.

I also explain what I hope to get out of this experiment — and what you can too.

If you’re unable to watch the video, its transcript is below…

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TRANSCRIPT:

Why am I using a countdown clock?

There are countless quotes about the importance of time.

How it’s our most precious commodity.

How you can’t buy more of it.

How, according to Jesse Spano in “Saved by the Bell,” there’s never enough of it.

But whatever you want to say about time, it’s fair to say that I am not upholding its sanctity.

When I look back on my life, it’s clear that, to this point, I have not had the appropriate respect for time.

For one, I waste far too much of it.

I watch too much TV.

I go down too many internet rabbit holes.

I click on too many click-bait articles to see if, in fact, I won’t believe what happens next.

And my wastefulness only increases when I’m trying to do anything creative.

I am an exceptional procrastinator.

That’s one thing I’ve got mastered.

I will do anything to free myself from the tension and inadequacy of the creative process.

I swear, I could’ve gotten together my thoughts for this video in about half the time if I hadn’t decided that, in the midst of my brainstorming, I absolutely had to clean out the refrigerator.

In one of the countless self-improvement articles I’ve read, one author asked the question, “Are you a creator or a consumer?”

I’m definitely a consumer, though my hope is to flip that see-saw in the more productive direction.

But truthfully, my biggest concern isn’t how much time I waste.

It’s how anxious I am for time to pass.

I spend way too much of my life obsessed with the future.

If it’s Monday morning, I can’t wait for it to be Friday afternoon.

If it’s Halloween, I can’t wait for it to be Thanksgiving.

This has little to do with my circumstances, because it’s not like my present moment is all that bad.

Quite the contrary.

I’ve got a loving wife, supportive family and friends, a good job and a warm place to sleep.

I have been blessed beyond belief.

Yet I’ve saddled myself with this toxic mindset, a mentality of trying to survive, of just trying to get through.

If my life is one big work week, I’m working for the weekend.

And when I step back and look at the big picture, it’s as if I’m, in a way, trying to hurry up and die.

Which, of course, is no way to live.

What am I hoping to get out of this?

I think I first read the book “Tuesdays With Morrie” when I was a junior in college.

There’s one line that Morrie, the main character, said that I’ve never forgotten.

He said, “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

That always resonated with me, because when you know there’s an end, it changes your perspective.

It can give you that sense of urgency you need to take risks, to ask that girl out, or move across the country, or pursue that new job, or to just get off the couch.

Death can be a motivator. It’s why people leave funerals with a new sense of resolve.

Rationally, I’ve obviously always known that I’m not immortal, that one day my time on Earth will come to an end.

But you wouldn’t know it if you examined my thought process on a daily basis. In fact, you’d find the opposite.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt like the present moment was preamble.

This, right here, right now, was not my actual life.

My actual life was something that would happen…someday.

Someday…when I finished high school?

When I got my first job?

When I bought my first house?

I don’t know. I’ve never known.

I’ve just known it wasn’t…now.

Yet all along, I’ve had these goals I’ve wanted to achieve and dreams I’ve wanted to make come true.

And in recent years, there’s been this voice in my head wondering, “What are you waiting for?”

“When are you going to start doing what you say you want to do?”

“And becoming the person you say you want to be?”

“When will someday be today?”

While I have made strides and taken some actions, I haven’t been able to fully kick myself into gear.

I haven’t found that one thing or had that one experience that made it all snap into focus.

I’ve just continued going about my days, as if I have an endless supply of them.

I even recently turned 40, and not even that changed anything.

At the pace I’ve been going, I’ll be about five-eighths of the way through my life’s to-do list somewhere between my 187th and 221st birthdays.

So I figured I needed something bold, something aggressive that could jog me out of this haze.

Thus, enter the death countdown clock.

It doesn’t get more straightforward than that.

I am now on the clock.

And this will be my constant reminder of that.

The way I see it, this is me learning how to die.

Whether I ultimately learn how to live?

Stay tuned.

Want to Get More Out of Your Life?

Learn to manage your fears and become a bolder risk-taker, decision-maker and communicator with help from my 5-step strategic video.

Click here right now to get the video!


Originally published at The Mission.