Memento mori - The stoic believe to remember death

Memento Mori means “remember death”. It may sound depressing, but it’s actually pretty awesome and wise.

It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end, forced at last by the ultimate necessity we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing.

– Seneca (stoic philosopher)

The calendar below shows how many weeks you’ve lived and shows how many weeks there are left until you’re 90. Being aware of the passing of time can make you more productive and focused on what’s really important in life. This can help in your activism and maybe also in life itself.

You can customize field A1 in the sheet with your birthday, it will then show how many weeks you theoretically have left in life. Every week you can then cross one off and reflect on life and prioritize that what is most important to you.

1. Productivity: We actually don’t want to be more productive. What we really want is more time. And yet because we don’t properly value time, we never end up with more; even when we find ways to work more efficiently, we don’t actually use it wisely. We simply layer in more work.

2. Investing in Learning: The upfront costs are real and visible and, like any investment, the future payoff is uncertain. So we tend to skim the surface, thinking this will “save us time” versus doing the real work. Yet this surface-based approach leads to no improvement in our ability to make decisions. In fact, it may harm us if we think we’ve learned something for real. Thus, surface learning is a true waste of time. It’s just that the link to our bad learning is unclear, so we rarely identify the root cause.

3. Relationships: We’re often too “busy” to spend time with the ones we care about. The very parent at the park playing on his iPhone while his children run around playing and laughing is the same one, who, when you fast-forward the axis of time, wants those precious moments back. Likewise, the “busy” 30-something who can’t make time to see their parents wishes to have them back after they’re gone. They wish for more time with them.

4. Meetings: Meetings are part of how many of us earn a living. Often, however, they’re poorly organized and poorly run. Lacking an agenda or decision, they become nothing more than half a meeting half-a-gossip session. A giant waste of time.

5. Nature: Remember you’re part of nature. Therefore, take time for yourself to rest, be in nature. Prioritize sleep, don’t just set an alarm to wake up, maybe also set an alarm to go to bed. Eat well, take your time to prepare the meal and enjoy it. Be with animals from time to time and alone with your thoughts to reset.