I did the math.
I’m a white male in America.
An average life expectancy for someone like me is ~78.4 years.
Then, subtract the effects of smoking. I was a smoker for about 9 years, which, for me, was about 16,425 cigarettes. The NIH has estimated that a cigarette takes off an average of about 11 minutes off your life. (citation)
That’s ~180,675 minutes gone . . . or ~3,011 hours . . . or ~125 days.
That means I won’t make it to the last quarter of the last year of my life.
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is right now.”
– Chinese Proverb
This is the time I’ve estimated I have left.
It’s not exact, but that’s not the point. I’m not using this timer to be accurate, I’m using it to focus on what’s important. It’s a deliberate choice.
I look at it every week, sometimes daily. I’m scared of dying, but more than anything I’m scared of regretting decisions in my life. I am using the scariness and urgency of death to my advantage.
Instead of being paralyzed, I will let it mobilize me–so that I might do more for others in the uncertain time I do have left.
You may want to make your own.