On November 6, 2069, exactly 17,887 days from today, I will be dead.
Or so I’ve determined thanks to a dozen different online life expectancy tests, sourced from retirement and life insurance websites. I averaged the results and come up with a final life expectancy: 83 years, 9 months, and 5 days for a total of 30,595 days on this planet.
November 6, 2069. A Wednesday.
I first scheduled the day of my own death back in 2014, during a particularly dark time. Still on antidepressants, the darkness of my own melancholy growing ever greater, I needed to find a way to guarantee that the pain would end. The abstract thought of death wasn’t enough. I needed a day, a specific day, to pinpoint as The End of This. A random day wouldn’t do. It had to be as real as I could make it, as accurate as I could get.
And what’s better at profiting off death than the racket of life insurance?
At the time of that first calculation, I had 20,097 days to go.
I assumed that counting down the days to my death would be a downtrodden exercise in general despair and loathing. An excuse, if nothing else, to keep feeling like shit because life sucks and then you die.
Surprisingly, creating my Date of Death brought me a sense of unexpected calm. The day I kicked the bucket was suddenly no more important than a dentist appointment or dinner with a friend. It existed, as scheduled, just as much as any other mundane event, so what was all the fuss about? My appointment was scheduled in 20,097 days, regardless of whether or not I spent those days in miserable depression or boundless joy. I didn’t suddenly feel the need to change who I was, or go BASE jumping off the side of the Empire State Building just because I wanted to live a #blessed life with #noregrets and because I only had #onelifetolife.
Instead, crawling toward an inevitable date on my calendar gave me the freedom to understand that everything, the good and the bad, is temporary. I began to learn that I have the freedom to indulge or disengage myself from a particular moment in time. When things were fantastic, however rarely that was, I was able enjoy it just a bit more knowing that the wonderful thing will eventually end. If I had twenty minutes to pet my dog, I enjoyed those twenty minutes—to the best of whatever ability my depressed mind could handle—instead of cursing myself for not being more productive.
Conversely, when all my first-world problems made my life a mess as they most often did, I could detach from the bullshit. It would not be my reality forever. Someday, perhaps on November 6, 2069, my reality would be a long, relaxing dirt nap. All the wrinkles and the aches and the pain would no longer matter.
But today was not that day. And I may as well do something with the time.
That said, if someone could cancel my recurring appointments after 11/6/2069, I’d appreciate it. Apparently I’m supposed to pay the cleaning lady the Thursday after I’m dead.