Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
It’s a conversation I’ve been thinking about for two weeks now. Sitting in the car with Tripp on the way to the grocery store…discussing the particulars of a new life insurance policy that we were thinking of applying for. The premium on my current policy was due and had gone up significantly in the past couple of years, so Tripp did a little rate shopping and was giving me the details of the plan he thought was the best option for us. As we pulled into the parking spot Tripp turns to me and says, “The great thing about this policy is its twenty year term.” I sat there for a second to take in all that he had told me about the policy, but then, like a bolt of lightning…like a punch in the gut…this realization came over me.
I might not be alive in twenty years.
These were the words I said to Tripp in the car. Getting ready to go buy groceries for the week. A completely ordinary day. And yet, here I am two weeks later, replaying this conversation over in my mind.
Now, I’m not telling you about this conversation to be melodramatic and I am not in the throws of a mid-life crisis. #beentheredonethat And I’m not upset! Truly! If anything I feel something akin to liberation. In fact, I might argue that I have felt more alive in the past two weeks than I have in a long time. Something about facing your own mortality will do that I guess.
The other reason I think this conversation has stuck with me is that I am facing a milestone birthday in the not-so-distant future. A year from today to be exact…today is my 49th birthday.
For the past couple of months, I have thinking about this birthday quite a bit. I mean, what is 49 except the year before I turn 50? I’m not really one to dread birthdays, but there’s something about 50 that feels….I don’t know…words like milestone don’t seem to fit. It’s not like turning 50 will mark some significant change to occur in my life like it did when I turned 16, 18, or 21. Well that is unless you count the letter I’ll get from AARP. Or the colonoscopy appointment that I’ll have to make.
But do you see what I mean here? Today I turn 49 and all I can think about is what will happen when I turn 50. And this is exactly what I don’t want…a wasted year of my life. Because my days (and years) are numbered. And I don’t want to waste any of them.
So I’ve decided that instead of spending the next year thinking about the next year, I am going to do my best to live fully – to be fully alive – in this year and all the years I have left.