“Why be saddled with this thing called life expectancy? Of what relevance to an individual is such a statistic? Am I to concern myself with an allotment of days I never had and was never promised? Must I check off each day of my life as if I am subtracting from this imaginary hoard? No, on the contrary, I will add each day of my life to my treasure of days lived. And with each day, my treasure will grow, not diminish.”
On my birthday last month, I posted the above quote that I find beautiful and thought provoking. I witness too many people complaining about aging or the passage of time. Do we really think there is anything else? Don’t we understand this human life enough to know that we all make our exit sooner or later?
We may be infinite beings but our time here on earth is finite. We all know that, so why do we look at it backwards?
Life expectancy can be viewed differently. Instead of a measure of time, how about a measure of breadth and depth to a life well lived?
Think about a vacation. Let’s say you have 14 days on a tropical island. Do you arrive Day 1 and plop down with a straw in your coconut bemoaning that you only have 13 days left? Do you count down the sun-drenched amazing days with a frown and heavy heart or do you get out there and enjoy the beauty of the place?
We all get one go-round in this particular body in this time and space. This thing called life. Might as well enjoy it.
What if we were plunked down on this planet and for every day you choose to see it as an adventure, you get another day. For every day you choose kindness, you get another day. For every day you see beauty all around, you get another day.
For every day you choose love over fear, you get another day. For every day you choose love over hate, you get another day. For every day, you choose to not judge, you get another day.
For every day you smile and laugh, you get another day. For every day you show compassion, you get another day. For every day you do something that makes you happy, you get another day.
Life expectancy swells on all levels. The very definition of the word expectancy a la Google means “the state of thinking or hoping that something, especially something pleasant, will happen or be the case.”
I expect good things. Voila, I get good things. I open up my arms and receive those good things with a giddy grateful heart. Let’s look at life expectancy as what we expect from life.
Start with a clean slate. Pretend this is the first day with this new awareness of what life expectancy is. Choose to see the good, the kind, the funny, the caring, the beautiful, the helpful, the intelligent, the fun. Tomorrow, do the same.
No matter how many days or hours you spend here in this realm, let’s see it as an addition. We are not subtracting from some imaginary number. We start each day as Day 1 and see what beauty we can discover. Maybe we talk to a stranger, just like we do on vacation. Maybe we try a new food. Maybe we lie in the sun and read a book. We try to get up on a surf board. We drink a lovely drink. We watch the sunset.
Tomorrow, if it so happens, we get up and experience life anew. That’s my new view of life expectancy. Even if I am at my desk or at the grocery store or doing laundry. Life is what I expect of it. With each day, my treasure grows, my tally of loving days adds up. There is no subtraction.
Like the author of the quote, I add each day of my life to my treasure of days lived.