October 11, 2013
I used to have this manager who was within a couple of years of retirement.
She kept a jar of beans on her desk.
Each bean represented one day of work.
And every day, she would take one bean out of the jar.
This was her way of counting down to the end of her career (and the beginning of her retirement).
Anyway, trust me when I say, that we were counting down too--even without the beans. :-)
At work, some people may even say of someone just hanging on or just hanging-out waiting to retire that they are Retired In Place (RIP)--a pun, on rest in peace.
Uh, not funny, but when people know the end is coming (either for career or their life), they often change their behavior--they focus on what what's coming next.
With the end of career, perhaps they are imaging sunny skies, palm trees, and margaritas in retirement.
And with end of life, people are often thinking about judgement day--and how they spent their lives: in love or hate, purposeful or without direction, doing good or taking advantage.
So it's very interesting to me how this company, Tikker (funny name, as a watch often makes the sound tick-tock, but also a person's heart is referred to as a ticker), developed a watch (the Death Watch) that not only provides the time, but actually counts down--years, months, days, and even hours, minutes, and seconds--not that they can be so precise--to your expected death.
The watch is supposed to give people new perspective and encourage them to live a better life.
Someone who is going to purchase the watch fills out a questionnaire with information on family health history, age gender, and race, and then they get their estimated date of death, for the countdown!
With the DOD (date of death), we now know what we are dealing with--for better or worse--and of course, subject to change, by the One Above.
But like the boss looking to retirement who took out a bean a day from the jar, we too can look towards our own mortality--not in a sad way, but in a fundamental human way--one that guides us, with the end in mind, to make better decisions for the time we have in life.
Despite, what almost every young person seems to believe, we are not immortal--and the stupid things we do when we are young or throughout of lives comes back to haunt us (whether smoking, drinking, overeating, or other bad stuff).
And so we must choose to live every moment, not as if we have forever, but rather with purpose, passion, and poetry--until the clock runs out on all of us, as it inevitably will.