At some point between turning 30 and now, my birthday turned from a reason to celebrate and go on a bender to a stressful reminder of my own mortality. My Dad died when he was 51 and my mum when she was 56. Both happened due to illness. I turned 36 last week. If I last as long as mum did that means my life is already 64% over!
Of course, the assumption that I will somehow live as long as my mum is a silly one to make anyway. I could die in the next year. I could last until I’m 90. Still, my parents’ short lives loom large every birthday.
A book that helped me with my time anxiety is Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks. In that book he suggests we shift our mindset to not look at death as an injustice, as us being robbed of the life we are entitled to. He says that we should instead try being amazed that we ever got the opportunity to live in the first place.
So maybe it’s not that you’ve been cheated out of an unlimited supply of time; maybe it’s almost incomprehensibly miraculous to have been granted any time at all. — Oliver Burkeman