No, I have not been diagnosed with an incurable inoperable cancer that will kill me in the next 6 months. Of course we could always find that out at any time, or get hit by a bus before the end of the day, but my remaining days refers to the normal likely amount of time I have left.
Starting on July 2, 2017. Approximately 17 years and one month from my 75th birthday. Up until a few years ago, one might have expected me to outlive my parents, both of whom died in the past 18 months. Mom at nearly 87 and dad just a little over 84. One would at least assume I would live as long as my father. But I have an illness, diabetes, which neither of them had. Typically, Type 2 diabetes shorten one’s life by about 10 years, so 75 is probably a realistic number. I can shorten that or lengthen it somewhat by diet and exercise, reduction of stress and losing weight.
I am hoping to do two things, add at least 5 years onto that 75 number, and be healthy enough to be productive at 15 more years from now. To that end, I am beginning a process of reflecting on what I want to accomplish and try to break it down into daily, weekly and monthly goals, bearing in mind, my physical and possibly mental capacities my lessen so that I should try to accomplish as much in the next 5 years as I do in the following ten, and figure, the last 5 may not be very productive at all. I certainly hope to live to 80 and be as strong bright and energetic on the last day of my life as I am today, but that is not realistic.
What does this mean?
- While I will continue to work full time as much as possible for the next 7 years, I will not allow my focus to be money and career driven only.
- I will organize my time and energy into spending time with people that I care about. Writing the best words I can write in whatever form I can.
- Travel, especially in the next 5-10 years, taste and drink and smell and see, and then try to share those experiences with others.
- Determine what else will give me joy for the rest of my time.
Awareness: I do not believe in any afterlife, and though I may leave a few people sad when I die, I do not believe I will feel any sadness from the moment of my death forward. So there is no need for me to dread death, nor mourn the shortness of life, especially mine. I probably will be a bit afraid, like jumping off the bridge into a creek full of cloudy water, but after the moment, it will be over and I will be no more, in pain, joy, regret, or hope, so, I have about 5000 days, if I am lucky, and the next 1500 days will probably be the best of what is left. Beyond a bit of comfort and security, I do not plan to lose another minute trying to make a buck.
I am a bit pleased to have come to this realization before it was “too late”. Time goes very swiftly, whether flying or on two feet, but if I start now, maybe I will not have let an entire life pass me by!
Update: So far, I have determined my family and friends, my poetry, and our publication Better than Starbucks all bring me happiness, as does travel, so I am thinking about what else to add to this, and how to maximize these things, but this is my focus. I wish you all well, and may you also spend your remaining days seeking joy and satisfaction, whether you think there is another world or not.