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What SkyMall Taught Me About My Mortality

I am learning to number my days.

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The answer came years later while I was thumbing through the famously wacky gift catalog SkyMall. On page 60, I found the “Tikker” — a watch that counts down to your death based on your own “health algorithm.”

As presumptuous as that seems, I think it merely reflects the flawed sense of certainty that many people like me have when they think about their age and the "life expectancy figures."

In other words, I think our obsession with age isn't about counting up but counting down. Knowing your exact age provides a more accurate figure of how many years you have left. That's why we use terms like "midlife crisis."

But life does not play out like a YouTube video with a progress bar. It is, you know, more like a confusing GIF that doesn’t loop. And I think that many people (like my classmate) understand this uncertainty far better than I do.

So 32 years in, I am remembering to be thankful for the long life I’ve had already. And I’m trying to remain aware of just how fortunate I am each day I am healthy and ultimately ask, "What good can I do with these days?"

Though I hope to live many more years, I can't set my watch to it.


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