As someone who has been a student of human development and organizational dynamics over the course of my life, I am continually intrigued by human behavior, specifically the various ways that we move through the world and perceive/interpret information. We can simultaneously be both different and surprisingly the same. How is that possible? One similarity that continues to fascinate me is our paradoxical relationship with the construct of time, specifically the tendency to act as if we have all the time in the world and/or that our time is running out. Usually the “all the time in the world” mindset appears when there is something that we don’t particularly want to do and the “time is running out” mindset tends to surface as we age.
Whether we like it or not, we all have a finite amount of time in this life and we don’t get to know in advance how much time on earth we actually have. We could live to be a ripe old age or, at the risk of sounding maudlin, today could be our last day. The concept of Memento Mori can serve to remind us of the inevitability of our mortality and, when optimally utilized, can remind us to live each day and moment fully, with intention and without regret.
This reminder is a gift of sorts, one that raises several profound and life altering questions for me. These questions serve to guide my focus and behavior. Key questions that I regularly struggle with include various versions of the following:
· What would I be doing today if I knew for certain that it was my last day on earth?
· Who would I be talking to and what would we be talking about?
· What misunderstandings, mistakes and actions – intentional or through thoughtlessness – would I want to clean up and apologize for?
· Who would I want to let know how much I appreciate and love them?
What about you?