Tag Archives: death

It’s a short life, and the older you get, the shorter it gets. However…(some birthday thoughts)

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.


Forget cremation. When I die, turn my into a diamond.

Seriously, that is one of the options mentioned on the site Interesting Engineering. You can also be dissolved in a liquid (apparently Desmond Tutu chose this option). Or you can be turned into soil.

For more on this, see:

(Image via algordanza, makers of the diamonds)



The last works of seven famous artists

This is interesting and something I’d like to see more of: the final works of famous artists. At Artnet.com they have at least seven of them: the Poetic, Heartbreaking Final Paintings of 7 Famous Artists, From Salvador Dalí to Marcel Duchamp.(They kinda gush a bit in that title. :))

Here is the last one from Dali:

That is interesting in itself. (Dali is always interesting.) But what makes it more interesting to me, as someone interested in the form of mathematics known as catastrophe theory, was that Dali was interested in and and inspired by it too. As artnet explaiins:

During the last years of his life, Dalí became obsessed with the mathematical catastrophe theory developed by French mathematician René Thom, who suggested that there are seven “elementary catastrophes” that occur: fold, cusp, swallowtail, butterfly, hyperbolic umbilic, elliptic umbilic, and parabolic umbilic. This painting, with its generous curves and sharp edges, mimics these catastrophic events in black lines painted atop what appears to be a crinkled white sheet of paper. The organic curves of a cello appear to one side along with, perhaps as a reference to his own famous facial feature, a handlebar mustache…



Checking in with death

If this sounds morbid and unappealing, I recommend you overcome that and give it a read: Checking in with death – Austin Kleon.

Checking in with death lets you live better. If you are into mindfulness or dealing with mental health issues or just want to appreciate life more, I recommend checking in with death.

What people died of in the 18th century

Is not what you might think. Some are the same, such as the casualties list. But the diseases show their age. (Who dies of an itch?) Fascinating how people saw illness in the 18th century (not that long ago).

The chart is via Naomi Clifford | Bill of Mortality 1743. You can get more details on it at the link.

Helpful advice in preparing for dealing with the death of a parent

If you are fortunate, your parents are living and you have a good relationship with them. The dreaded day will come, though, when they die. It will be hard to deal with, no matter what advice you get, but this piece of advice will certainly help: Things I Wish I Had Known When My Mother Died :: YummyMummyClub.ca.

I would add: expect to deal with a lot of administrative tasks that will seem surreal at times. There is much more of it then you think. At best it will seem bizarre. At worst, it will be agony. Either way, it must get done, and if you don’t think you will be able to do it, consider who you would lean on to help you with it when the time comes.

(Thanks to Emma W for the pointer to this.)