Age, backward: Counting the life you have left
A friend of mine named Tom Gorman counts the summers he has left. He knows how long his dad lived, and he knows how long his dad’s dad lived. He’s even factored in some of his uncles. From this, he’s figured out the average lifespan of the males on the Gorman side of the family.
In addition, Mr. Gorman’s decided to count in terms of summers, because for him, summers are the good part of the year.
So let’s assume, for simplicity, that the average lifespan in his family is 70 years and he’s currently 50-years-old. That means he has 20 summers left. Something about “20 summers left” definitely seems finite, especially compared to the way we usually measure age.
See, usually we measure age starting at birth and continue counting up, pretty much forever. We’ve built in a definite beginning but no definite ending. Maybe we should consider that ending a little more.
I think Simon Sinek mentioned something about this. He told of a man who had two fishbowls and some marbles. The man filled one of the bowls with a marble for every week he had left to live. At the end of each week, he’d move one marble from the first bowl to the second. Unless he didn’t do anything worthwhile that week. For those weeks, he simply throw out a marble.
A saw another example online a while ago, one a couldn’t find again for some reason, where someone had created a calendar with all the days he expected to live on one sheet of paper. The sheet of paper wasn’t that big.
Wow, I thought, Looking at life this way can be depressing. Yeah, but you know me and depressing: it can also be inspiring. Either way, it’s definitely a different perspective.