I didn't ask for a Tikker for Christmas, but could have: it's a watch that tells me when I will die.
Every minute of every day.
Interviews with the makers of Tikker claim that having a wrist-mounted reminder of my remaining minutes will make me treasure the time I have left and maybe use it more wisely. I have my doubts. But those were put to the test when I checked my remaining lifespan on two Internet death sites. I'm 57 at the moment, and healthy. My blood pressure is great, though my cholesterol is a little high. I don't smoke, drink moderately, eat well and exercise regularly. I get enough sleep (more or less), find time for silent prayer and don't have too stressful a job. Even after a Yuletide of caloric excess, I barely register above the normal range for BMI. I figure I will live as long as my Dad, who was spry and active until he turned 80. So that gives me 23 more years of good living, right?
Deathclock.com gave me a shock when it estimated my death to land on May 24, 2030, which has me kicking off this mortal coil in 17 years at the age of 74.
Deathtimer.com is even more pessimistic, having me start pushing up daisies on Aug 24, 2023 -- less than 10 years from now!
Even alcoholic emphysemics I have known have done better than that!
But the shock I felt was instructive. Faced with the possibility of having only a decade of two of life was not a happy feeling. But have I changed the languorous pace of chasing my dreams of being writer and songwriter? Not just yet.
I don't need Tikker to constantly remind me of life's fragility and evanescence. Once a year on Ash Wednesday will do fine. But there is that worried part of me that, I guess, worries about -- what? No longer being part of this wonderful world? No longer enjoying family and friends? Not having made my mark on the world? I confess that I look at photos of famous people -- like Twain, Wilde and even Hitler -- and compare my small achievements against theirs at the same age. There is time yet to fulfill my God-given mission on Earth, but the opportunities are fading. Whether I have 10, 17 or 23 years left in me, the chances are becoming fewer to leave something more behind than a box full of bones.
And that's worth thinking about.