Our limited time

I don’t like to think about death. I’ve known people younger than me and people my age who have died. So it’s not like I can con myself into thinking I’m too young to die. An idea that has kept revealing itself to me is how short human time really is. One of the things that I long for is to be able to look back at how I’ve lived my life and be proud.

I was watching this video of an Indian guru who said:

If you are conscious that you’re mortal and that you have a limited amount of time, naturally you would tweak your energies to such a level that time would be enhanced. If you knew your time is very limited, you wouldn’t do one thing that doesn’t matter to you.


And then the other day I was listening to an old song by rock band Nickelback; “If Today Was Your Last Day“, whose lyrics I was paying attention to for the first time through Spotify’s lyric feature. Previously I had only enjoyed the song’s instrumentals, but this time I found the lyrics so profound and deep. The song really just encourages you to contemplate how precious time is. And to live a life worth living.

Against the grain should be a way of life
What’s worth the prize is always worth the fight
Every second counts ’cause there’s no second try
So live like you’ll never live it twice
Don’t take the free ride in your own life


For me, the takeaway is this, death is real and inevitable for everyone. I want to be conscious of that daily. I want it to inform my actions, how I navigate life, in how I treat people. Arguing online, keeping malice, seeking revenge, being bitter, mindless surfing; all a waste of time.

When you think about the life of someone like Mozart, he is regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time and yet lived a very short life of 35 years. He was very prolific, as he managed to create a lot of pieces in his short life.

I have now made a habit of being prepared in all affairs of life for the worst. As death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the last few years such close relationships with this best and truest friend of mankind that his image is not only no longer terrifying to me but is indeed very soothing and consoling, and I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness. I never lie down at night without reflecting that — young as I am — I may not live to see another day. Yet not one of all my acquaintances could say that in my company I am morose or disgruntled. For this blessing I daily thank my creator.

W.A. Mozart

Clearly, he understood how limited our time on earth is. We had better get to work at doing what we want the most. Whether that is being a good parent or being good at a craft. You might not finish it, but you surely would leave a deep mark.

I want to make valuable use of the precious time I have left. When I’m about to die, I want to have a body of work I can look back on and be proud of. I want to be proud of my relationships and my conduct in them.

If this year, was your last year, what would you do?