If I die Monday, may my tombstone read,“Died doing what he loves.”

On Monday I go in for Jaw Surgery. If I die, I want my tombstone to read, “Died doing what he loves.[1]

I’ve never seen a footnote on a tombstone. Nor ellipses. I’m updating the medium. The joke makes it more palatable.

I joke because I’m afraid. I’m afraid because it’s frightening. I’ve never been closer to death than I will be on Monday.

I’ve always mused on death. I wrote my first auto-obituary at 13. The same way some people use the largesse of space to decrease their anxiety; I use death to accept depression. When I wake up late enough that I feel grumpy, the phrase “death and taxes” echoes in my mind. It reminds me of two crucial elements – timeliness and humor. One makes today matter and the other makes life worth living.

I’m spending tomorrow and Sunday advising a local high school youth group, and Saturday with my dad. If I die, let it be known I went out doing what I loved.

 

[1] Self improvement.

Okay, cocaine.

Time moves consistently, but mine doesn’t.

Time moves consistently, but mine doesn’t.

Subjective perception of time is altered by all sorts of stimuli. After a drink, it swims faster, blurrier. Right before lunch, it slows as I savor it more. “Time” is an objective measure about the world—a construct based on collective human experience. Each person’s time, however, is subjective. Experientially, there is such thing as a fast second or a long day.

At twelve years old, late at night in the hold of a sailboat, I wept at the realization that time only moves in one direction. Correct, precocious pre-pubescent philosopher young-Julian: correct, but incomplete.

I also recall, earlier, as a tyke of about seven, telling a friend, “we should have fun for the next hour so it passes faster.”

While I couldn’t yet articulate the difference between subjective and objective time, I already understood its implications: Subjective time is inconsistent. You can manipulate it, and thereby manipulate your experience.

So what?

So play with it. That’s as much as I’ve got. I’ve discovered a powerful tool and have little idea what to do with it, so let’s experiment and see what works. Try slowing subjective time by sensing the subsections of each second. Speed it up by losing yourself in thought. Objective time moves at a consistent rate in one direction. That’s our creative constraint. What we do within its bounds is up to us. If you discover something, tell me. 

Traveling around the U.S., with no nine-to-five, I revert to a pre-1800s sense of time, which I find brings greater focus and emotional depth.

How long have I been writing this? Wrong question.

Is it valuable? Better question.

Is it what I should be doing? Right question.