Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present!
Last week I shared a post on time, and this week I would like to follow it up with something I started back in late 2011 or early 2012.
As a quick reminder, we all get a daily deposit of 86,400 seconds a day to spend and invest however we choose. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, you get the same exact deposit. You can’t buy more time. Once you use it, you lose it. Any unused balance is deleted from the ledger and the balance reset. There is no guarantee tomorrows deposit will come.
Memento mori (Latin ‘remember (that you have) to die’), or also memento mortis, “remember death,” is the Latin medieval designation of the theory and practice of the reflection on mortality, especially as a means of considering the vanity of earthly life and the transient nature of all earthly goods and pursuits.
A few years ago I found a blog post from a former Special Forces vet that was talking about his Memento Mori Chart. He explained it as a grid that was 52 columns by 80 rows, with each row representing 52 weeks in a year. This was his way of making sure he didn’t take time for granted and a tool to put him back on course if he lost perspective.
Why 80 rows? For him, 80 years seemed like a reasonable age to live to, and was close to the average lifespan.
So every Sunday he would mark a box and reflect on the week that passed by asking himself questions. Did I spend my time wisely? Is there anything I would have done different? These and other questions would keep him grounded and living life to the fullest.
Intrigued? I was, so I started my own Memento Mori Chart.
Being the Finance geek that I am, I creating my chart in Excel and added a few extras. The most notable changes that I made to the chart are the time stats to the right that break down the time I have been alive to: years, months, weeks, days, hours, and seconds. I also added in a graphic related to health and fitness, because when I found this chart I had just embarked on a journey to get back in shape. I had found myself 50 lbs. overweight since graduating college. Soon I will be updating it with: Vitality, Connection, & Contribution.
What you can’t see is that my chart is actually 52 x 100. This is because I would like to live to 100 years old, which I don’t think is beyond the realm of possibilities in today’s day and age. Obviously, there is no guarantee, but this is how I have chosen to set my chart up.
This post will be going live about a month after my birthday. But as you can see, as I write this I am approaching the final box in my 28th year. Each week I type an X into another week that has passed and I ask myself the following questions:
- Did I spend time with the people I love?
- Did I challenge myself?
- Did I waste any time worrying about stuff that doesn’t matter?
- Did I do things that made me happy?
- Is there anything I spent time on that I need to change?
Some weeks I reflect back and realize I wasted time on trivial issues. But most weeks I feel good about the way I spent and invested my time.
I know it may seem a bit morbid to keep track of your life like this. But it can also be liberating. Once you realize how little time you have on this earth, you appreciate time much more. You find the motivation to make changes in your life before it’s too late.
If anyone is interested in a copy of the chart I have created in Excel, please drop me a note in the comments and I will email you a copy.
– Gen Y Finance Guy
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