What Would You Do if You Knew When You Were Going to Die?
That’s what I’d like to find out.
What would you do if you knew when you were going to die?
How would you feel? How would you change? How would you live?
Well, that’s what I’d like to find out.
Welcome to my new video series, “On the Clock,” in which I explore what it’s like to live with a countdown clock — a clock that’s counting down to my (theoretical) death.
The video above explains everything, but if you’re unable to watch, I’ve included the transcript below…
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About eight or nine years ago, I found myself talking to this guy who told me that on his desk at work, he kept a countdown clock — a clock that was counting down to his death.
I don’t remember exactly how he said he set the clock…I guess he figured out the average life expectancy for someone of his gender, background, etc., and did his calculations off that.
Seeing the confused look on my face, he explained that the clock wasn’t about morbidity. It was about mortality.
He understood that one day he was going to die, and he wanted a constant reminder of that, so he’d make sure that he made the most of his life until that day came.
While he seemed to think I was horrified by this, I actually was anything but.
I was impressed. And I was inspired.
As someone who has struggled to find my purpose and to embrace my life as the gift that rationally I know it is, I thought this countdown clock might be the sort of thing that could get me seeing things from the proper perspective.
But as I’ve done with many good ideas, I set it aside because I was too lazy, too anxious, too intimidated to give it a shot.
That is, until today.
Right here, right now, I’m going to set up and kick off my own countdown clock.
And my plan is to record and publish videos like this one that document my thoughts, my fears, my feelings, whatever this experiment inspires.
Now, for the tricky part.
What day am I going to die?
I went back and forth with this. A lot.
And I had a number of ideas about how I was going to determine it.
The idea I almost used was based on the fact that, a few years ago, my wife half-jokingly said she wanted to live until she was 100.
And because she didn’t want to outlive me, that meant I had to live until she was 100 as well.
Meaning I’d have to make it to 104.
But that didn’t feel realistic.
Granted, who’s to say what’s realistic with this experiment?
There’s obviously no way of knowing how long I’ll live.
I had a grandmother die at 62, and I have a great aunt who’s alive at over 100.
I could just as easily die tomorrow as I could at 104.
But I didn’t want anyone thinking I was messing around or not taking this process seriously.
So I decided the best thing to do was to use one of the apps that will tell you how much longer you have to live.
The one I’m using is actually an extension on Google Chrome called Death Clock.
I learned about it by reading Tim Ferriss, the well-known author and podcaster.
The Death Clock extension only asks you for your birthday. And once it’s installed, every time you open a new window, you see a countdown of how many days, hours, minutes and seconds you have left.
So, let’s set this up…
I’m going to share my screen with you…
(Go to the 3:43 mark in the video above to watch the countdown clock start.)
In addition to this extension, I’m also going to set up a countdown on my phone through the site, www.timeanddate.com, so whenever I check my email or texts or Twitter, I’ll see it there as well.
All right, let me get this going…
The first day of the rest of my life, starts…now.
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Originally published at The Mission.