13,000 Days

I attended a great session with wonderful photographer Sandy Puc’ this Sunday at WPPI.  Her founding of, and work with, the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep organization is both heart-breakingly sad (I wasn’t able to go through the videos at www.nilmdts.org without getting teary) and inspiring.

She mentioned that at one time she had calculated that she had 13,000 days, or about 35 years, left to live given an average life span.  Of course, nobody really knows if something unfortunate could happen any time from living out that full time.  I’m not that much younger than she is either…so it’s reality check time!

What if days were dollars?  How quickly could someone blow through $13,000?  Would we carefully guard the remaining money, doling it out sparingly?  Or would we squander a few here, a few there, by doing not much of consequence?  Yet that’s what we do in the tiniest of increments each day with the time killers that pervade our life.  Should we treat people who steal the precious seconds and minutes of our time (and by extension, or lives) the same as if they had stolen money from us?  Telemarketers, email spammers, I’m looking at you….

Perhaps we do need that countdown clock, ticking away, a gentle reminder that while most of us have time to spare, life isn’t something to be wasted doing things you don’t enjoy, hanging out with people that you don’t like particularly, or nurturing resentment or guilt.

Maybe a limited lifespan is a gift, something that motivates us to accomplish great things with our lives.  It’s a wake-up call to dust off those dreams and pursue them with the same zeal as a person with a limited time left.