A year and a half ago, my uncle Gary bought himself a billy goat and an alpaca. He had been diagnosed with stage IV prostate cancer. He took an early retirement and decided to do all the things he’d always wanted to do, but never got around to doing. He reconnected with family and friends. He went to Disneyland. At the end of the year, he hosted a luau at his home, complete with a 300-pound pig over an imu pit.
Uncle Gary lost his battle with cancer last week. He’d had a total of 20 months between diagnosis and endgame.
The countdown timer is ticking for everybody, but no one pays attention to it until the clock gets into the lower digits. We place a lot of emphasis on the crucial final plays, forgetting that a healthy 20-month period starting now is more valuable than the last seconds of the game when we’re worn out and losing our faculties.
From Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement address at Stanford University:
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.