A handy little death countdown application
By Ransom Riggs
There are forward-thinking people, and then there's Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly. Talk about overkill: Kelly modified a daily countdown application for the Mac to tell him how many days he's got left -- on Earth. He's 55 now, and using this Life Expectancy Table, he set his countdown for 8500 days, when he'll turn 78.68 years old and, there's a fair chance, be dead.
According to the chart, I have 47.77 years left to go, depending of course on my lifestyle choices. (Let's see: I could eat better, but I exercise and take Omega 3 oil pills to fend off the demons of heart disease. I don't smoke, I drink in moderation (usually) and I don't enjoy downhill mountain biking or base-jumping. So 47 more years sounds about right.) That gives me until the year 2054, which doesn't sound all that far away given that it feels like just yesterday we were all partying like it was 1999 -- because it was. Jeez, if I'm going to walk on Mars and be president before then, I'd really better get on it!
So how am I going to get everything done in such a short time? Kelly describes one approach:
"My friend Stewart Brand, who is now 69, has been arranging his life in blocks of 5 years. Five years is what he says any project worth doing will take. From moment of inception to the last good-riddance, a book, a campaign, a new job, a start-up will take 5 years to play through. So, he asks himself, how many 5 years do I have left? He can count them on one hand even if he is lucky. So this clarifies his choices. If he has less than 5 big things he can do, what will they be?"
Seems like a good way to approach the time you've got left whether you're 69 or you're 29. Does anyone else organize their lives in chunks? If so, what's your 5-year plan -- or your 75-year plan?