Maybe this isn't s bad thing. To contemplate the inevitable focuses one on the moment.
What do you enjoy about your life right now?
If this was your last year, what would you be doing different? If there was a medical test that gave you the information on when you would die within a reasonable certainty within a few months, how would you live out the remaining years or decades?
The fact is that outside of a tragedy, we pretty much know the date: we can expect to live into our mid to late seventies. With a little luck we can extend that time for another ten or fifteen years.
So knowing what we really don't want to think about, look at your life right now. (we now abandon the royal "we").
This morning I did not get up and exercise like I normally do. I cooked up some tater tots and then fried an egg and put it on top and then smothered that with ketchup. Then I ground some coffee and sat down and continued reading my book on Madoff and just enjoyed a quiet morning. Life is good. Indeed, life is a gift.
The other day I was speaking with someone about our goals. 25 years ago the only thing I wanted to do was be the best trial lawyer I could be. I probably couldn't even name goals 8-10. Today, being a great trial lawyer is not in the top ten. When it is my time, if being a great trial lawyer was all I accomplished (and it is not) I would be very sad.
I have a new goal now. Actually a few. One is a passion. And it requires a lot of work. It takes up most of my precious free time. And the scary thing is after a few years of work, I may fail. The finished product may stink.
But isn't that what life is all about? There are no guarantees. You try and succeed and you reap the rewards (emotional, financial, physical, etc.) You try and fail and you get right back up, dust yourself off, absorb and apply the lessons of the failure, and try again.
I've lived a moderately long time, but not long enough for me. And here's what I have learned: when I look back, it's always the climb that I remember fondly, not the top of the mountain.
I remember the long hours preparing the cross. And then I remember how it worked. I remember the frantic hours late at night re-writing the closing, and then I remember standing before the jury giving it. I rarely remember the verdict or the aftermath.
The world may end today, but probably not. But there is real value every now and then in contemplating the end and deciding to make every day count.
Maybe, just this once, I won't see you in court Monday. Maybe you'll take the day off and spend it in a bookstore, or at the beach, or at a movie, or with your family.