I am fascinated by this clock above. Called Shortlife, it is developed and sold by Dries Depoorter, who explains that…
‘Shortlife’ is a small device showing how much percent of your life is completed based on your personal life expectancy.
You give him your birthday and your gender and he programs the clock based on this information and “the average number in your country provided by the World Health Organization (WHO)”.
It’s a good momento mori.
If you want a more accurate estimate of your life expectancy, you can go here. That online calculator’s estimate “is based on a detailed statistical analysis of NIH-AARP data and conducted by Wharton professor Dean Foster” and takes into account not just your age and gender, but also other factors like how fit you are and how much you drink and smoke.
Based on that calculator, it estimates I have twenty more years to live, if I am lucky. It also states that there is a 25% chance I won’t have more than a dozen. Of course it is just an estimate, a probability. I could die today, or I could live for another 40 years. But the likelihood of 12 (and no more) I think is good. When we were in school, 12 years felt like an eternity. I suspect these will not.
One problem with such a clock is it meant for people who see the glass increasingly empty. We need a clock that shows things increasing full. There is such a thing, of course. But it’s not a clock. It’s a tree. If you plant a tree and you are lucky, the tree will grow along with you. Growth: that’s what trees represent. A tree you plant can represent you as a growing living thing, not as a dying thing.
I think the clock is smart, of course, but I think a tree is wise. Get both, and be wiser, still.
P.S. I wrote about the joy of planting and owning a tree, here. That tree is no longer on my property, and perhaps that makes it better.