I know it might seem like a morbid thing to talk or think about but I'm wondering if we don't think about it enough (maybe this is an American bias since there are plenty of other cultures who do; just not me). In thinking about death, it's eminence and presence, it reminds me to focus and celebrate life; the one I'm living right this very moment and the one I share with those around me.
What started me down this path was realizing my parents are getting older. I know it's inevitable but this thought exercise brought it CLOSER to the present. Depending on which data sources you use for life expectancy, a typical American at the age of 70 has about 13-15 more years if you're male or 15-17 more years if you're female. That's not a lot of years! Couple that with how geographically distributed families can be now, it could mean that if you only see your parents once a year, you'd get roughly 15 more interactions with them. Obviously, you could have more, although that number won't likely be wildly larger, or you could have less. Life is full of the unexpected. Thinking about this is making me focus a lot more on what I have right now and what I might want for the time we have remaining. So what do I want the last 15 times together to look like? Is there something we should talk about or share? How would they like to be remembered? Are there stories that I don't know that I should? I think a lot about how much life can get wrapped up in the tyranny of the schedule without much thought to the quality of our relationships and the time we spend together.
(For the record, my folks and my in-laws live in DFW so we see them way more than this but it doesn't mean I won't be more intentional with the time I do spend with them)