I had a good night sleep after an enjoyable and eventful weekend. I woke up with a clear head, and had coffee and breakfast. I read and blogged. I had a lovely walk by the river before it warmed up. Lunch tasted awesome--the leftovers from the Saturday cooking.
And then I read this piece at Slate: It is "a calculator to to tell you how many times you'll see your parents before they die."
Of course I had to read it the moment that kind of a lead popped up. After all, the annual trips to India over the last decade have been exactly for this reason, even though, this travel-dreaming blogger on a limited budget could easily divert that expense in order to go somewhere else. And, boy do I have some travel plans in mind!
I spend money to go to India because, probabilistically speaking, while I have quite a few more years to live, my parents face a much more limited horizon. In fact, it is even probable that they are into overtime.
Death is guaranteed right at conception. It is only a matter of when. My first lesson on my own mortality was when I was way young. It is not that I sit around waiting for my own death or anybody else's; it is merely a realization that one day it will happen.
As an atheist, I am not buying my ticket to heaven by visiting with parents, nor do I have to worry about spending eternity in hell if don't spend that time with them. (Does having lived in Bakersfield for nearly a decade qualify as eternity in hell?!)
As a confirmed atheist, all I have to figure out is whether I am at peace with the decisions I make. I know I won't be at peace if I didn't make that trip to India and, instead, if I spent those weeks in, say, Argentina that I have been drooling to go for years. Further, it is not that visiting with the parents is a pain--it is always a pleasure. And I will get to meet with a few friends and relatives.
Hence, I go. And, yes, I am all set with the air tickets for the upcoming annual trip, later this year.
So, I did click on the link to the site that does the calculation. A site whose address says it all: seeyourfolks.com
As the Slate article pointed out, the site's simple interface was inviting. I punched in the data. The site had this to report:
Not a surprise to me--it matches my understanding of life expectancy at birth.
So, why create such a site?
We believe that increasing awareness of death can help us to make the most of our lives. The right kind of reminders can help us to focus on what matters, and perhaps make us better people.Exactly! This has always been my understanding of life, and death too.
When we realize there is only a limited amount of time, we are then able to easily rank some as important and others are not worth even a tiny second of our lives.
If the latter, we stop caring for sports in which people get paid gazillions to entertain us. We stop caring for movies that are formulaic. We don't care for unprofessional colleagues. We end marriages and we divorce. Life is way too short for these.
I would rather spend time, and money, on what truly matters. I prefer humans who are genuinely happy to give me a minute or more of their lives. I travel to visit with my love. I visit with my parents. I read. I think. I help students think. I share ideas with people. I walk by the timeless river.
I blog about all these.
This is all that matters.
Before death happens. I know it will.