About two months ago I changed the background on my phone.
I’m not usually one for cute pictures or puppy dogs or sports car wallpapers.
To me the apps block the picture and sometimes make it too hard to locate an app altogether (Yes I am aware you can choose both different locked and unlocked backgrounds for your phone, but that’s neither here nor there).
Typically I use one of the generic iPhone backgrounds. They’re simple, easy, and are mostly one solid color.
Two months ago I needed a bit of a change. As I started my #SeptemberToRemember I decided to do something different.
So I changed my phone wallpaper to this:
Every time I open my phone, every morning when my alarm goes off, every instance I check the time, and every single moment I go to get on social media I’m hit with a simple message.
You’re. Going to. Die.
It’s a little morbid maybe, a constant reminder that death is coming, but for me it’s pure motivation.
For me this message is less about the certainty of death and more about the certainty, and briefness, of life. While death may be on the way, life is happening right now.
And because I don’t know when my last day is it just means I’ve got to hurry up and make the most of every single one.
Now that is not a “Carpe Diem” outlook and a “live every day like your last” battle cry.
I’ve always found those ideologies to be flawed in how they’re applied, mainly because they don’t fit into the real world. You cannot live every day like your last day because you do not know when your last day will be.
If I knew my last day was today I wouldn’t have gone for a run this morning, be writing this blog post, or be going to work. I would most likely be on a plane to Boston or the Florida Keys, waist deep in root beer bottles, and eating just about as much as my stomach would allow.
And there lies the flaw. Knowing it is your last day changes your behavior.
The trick, in fact, is to live like if you got to the end of the day and it was your last that you lived in a way you’d be happy with it. And part of that is being happy with the days up until that point.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is as simple as it is.
When I do reach death I know what I’ve accomplished and the impact I’ve left will be solely decided by how I acted day in and day out. It may have taken a little longer than I’d like to realize that, but maybe it’s finally sunk in.
I’ve got a lot of things to complete before I’m gone and sometimes I have to remember I don’t have forever to do them.
Happy Halloween, you’re going to die.
Now what are you going to do about it?