Adjusting the Zoom

What would you do if you only had 5 minutes to live?

It can be fun to play around with this question, something I’ve done several times with different people over the years. The answers are often split between the silly and the serious. There’s usually the phone call to Mom and the expressions of love and appreciation to those around you. But at the same time there’s an impulse to go out in the most fun and iconic way possible! One of my high school social studies teachers said he’d run to the top of the big hill behind my high school so he could go down in history as “the guy who died rolling down the big hill.” I feel like somebody always mentions jumping off of a roof or balcony, filling their last seconds with exhilaration.

OK, but what would you do if you only had 5 years to live?

Again, there’s the tendency to split the answer between fun and purpose. You’d want to make as much of a difference as possible in your 5 years, but you’d also want to live it up as much as you can! When the time frame is extended like this, people want to travel more, read more books, do what they love and be with the people they love. At the same time, people want to volunteer more and make profound, positive impacts in the lives and world around them. I’ve also heard the answer of raising awareness of whatever disease/condition/magic spell is killing you, and helping others in similar situations.

OK, but what would you do if you only had 60 years to live?

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  1. Ah, wow, somehow this post escaped email notification attention. This is such an interesting thought experiment. I could see myself, in the 5 year model, wasting the first year (hopefully not the whole time!) freaking out about the fact I only had 5 years to live and trying to cram so much in to the point that it would all be meaningless. But hopefully I’d be able to figure out my values, through the help of some life-coaching or what not, and live in accordance with them– and hopefully I’ll do that if I have 60 years to live too…the “figuring it out” period might just be extended a little.

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