We can pose a rather unlettered query, such as what is life? But let’s unpack that a bit. We can assume life goes on forever, and we proceed from baby to child to adult to parent to grandparent. We just assume life will move in that course. How would one’s attitude change if the rules were different, namely if you were given a fixed period of time to live. Say 75 years. Get to the 75 mark and all ends. Would you conduct your life any different than now? Not suggesting a physical malady or disease. Just a mere timeclock. What if you are told your ticket lasts until 55? And say you knew that was the deal when you’re at 53. How would you live your next 2 years? We have this incumbent assumption that life will continue. No estimation of a demise. Just live as it goes. How different one’s views, and I submit, the behaviors would change if the time ahead was knowingly finite not infinite. By rule, by statute, by the law of life, you have five years, or two, or maybe six months. You are born and at say 21, you are provided your “life’s contract”. You will expire at 35. Would your focus or priorities or practices change? Would the people you see be different? Would it be friends or family? And who? Would you have your own family? Would the things you both want to do, as well as accomplish, be different if you knew you had not an eternity to accomplish them. This may be a new psychological and philosophical premise.
One’s attitude in life is determined by one’s perceived demise. Most have the view of forever or at least uncertainty. For those inflicted with stage 4 cancer, given months to live, how do her priorities and life’s attitude change? Do the brain’s synapses fire variantly or adjust? Do our emotions reorient and adapt? Does expectation of demise alter our psyche, what we think about and who, does it change our fundamental chemistry? Does it elongate or compress the periods ahead? If we knew the mortal end was near as opposed to decades off, how do we change, and how might we interact differently. Assume you had a “life contract” of only one year. At that time mortal life is ceased. How would you decide on actions forward? Would it be for you, or them, or we, or they? Whose playbook do you follow? And if time now becomes ever more precious because of a known expiry, might you embark on relationships and experiences to enhance and maximize your remaining time. Would life be bundled with more power and emotion for that time? Would you accomplish more, love more, experience more because you can see the finish line? The psyche would seem to change. And might one not enjoy that tsunami of personal richness during that intensive period, as she concludes there is nothing to lose. So I pose my observation and thesis. Why don’t we live life with such expected passion and fervor anyway, regardless if we are not subject to the finite law of life, a pre-determined life contract. We postpone, we defer, we procrastinate, we put off a call to or a coffee with a friend or loved one til next week or beyond. Shouldn’t we embrace the moment as if it may be one of our last?
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