old age sunset

I have (only) 2800 weeks left

Making the most out of the time we get in this life

If all goes well, I have another 2800 weeks left to live.

It feels incredibly awkward to write this out and even more so to really think about it. When this article goes live, 1,319 weeks of my life will have passed. There are only 2800 more to go. That’s scary.

This week, I want to talk about something that’s been on my mind a lot lately: time. More specifically, the limited amount of time we have in this life and how easy it is to lose sight of that fact, especially when you’re young and feel like you have your entire life ahead of you.

Now, most of you who know me personally know that I’ve always felt much older than I was. I’ve been called an ‘old soul’ and ‘beyond my age’, growing up often getting along much better chatting with older kids or taking care of the much younger ones. Waking up in the morning without physical pain is a distant memory of the past, but still, I do often feel like there’ll always be enough time. Gym? I can do it later. There’ll be time. Goals and aspirations? I’ll have time sometime next month to start, and that’ll be okay. Work? For years, I was stuck and felt not only like an imposter but also unhappy and unfulfilled. The culprit? Procrastination and a fake feeling of ‘I can do it later, I have time’.

I recently came across a startling realization. Based on a variety of factors, including my family medical history, my current weight and lifestyle, struggles with depression, and mental health in general, I can expect to live until around 79 years of age.

At first glance, that seems like a long time. I’m only 25 now, so I’ve got over 50 years left. Plenty of time to do everything I want to do to achieve all my goals and dreams.

But when you break it down further, those 50 years are just about 2800 weeks. Suddenly, that doesn’t seem like so much time anymore.

As an adult with ADHD, I know firsthand how skewed our perception of time can be. No matter if we’re talking about estimating time at work, allocating time in your personal life or reaching out to people you haven’t talked to in a while. It can seem like we have all time time in the world, but it’s often much shorter than we think, and it’s crucial to remeber that tomorrow is never guaranteed.

Moreover, not all time is created equal. The weeks we have now, in our youth, are arguably of much higher quality than the weeks we’ll have later in life, especially as our health starts to deteriorate. We have more energy, more resilience, and more opportunities now than we likely will in our 60s or 70s.

It’s a tough balance, though. We can’t live every day like it’s our last, neglecting our responsibilities and future for the sake of immediate gratification. Oh, for some time, that definitely would be amazing. I want to bury myself under a blanket, binge-eat Gelato, and watch the next season of Billions on HBO Max.
A) That’s unsustainable, and
B) It’s unfulfilling.
It would get boring much sooner than later, and the reality of needing money to pay the bills would soon kick in.

But we also can’t put off living for some distant future that may never come.

One book that really impacted me in this regard is “Die With Zero” by Bill Perkins, featured in the article 10 books that changed my life.

The core idea is that we should aim to die with zero money and zero regrets, having used our resources (both time and money) to maximize our life experiences. It’s a call to be intentional about how we allocate our most precious resource: time.

I’ve got so many things I want to do, so many projects I want to bring to life, so many ideas to explore, and adventures to have. Slowly but steadily, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I won’t be able to do it all. I have to be selective and focus on the few things that matter most to me and that I believe will have the greatest impact. As painful as it is, I have to learn to “kill my darlings” and to let go of some dreams and ideas so that I can fully invest in others.

A personal side note: I often recall Bill Aulet from MIT Launch back in 2016 and his speech on time. One thing he said that stuck with me is, “Call your parents.”
His point was that by the time one finishes college, they’ve already spent the majority of the total time they can ever spend with their parents/close family. That time only dwindles as you get older and build your own life. So cherish the time you have left with your loved ones, make the effort to go see them, and be present with them. Turn the phone off, try to clear your mind, and be “in the moment” with them. Take lots of pictures and enjoy.

2800 weeks. It’s a thought that can stop you in your tracks, but it’s also one that can be a powerful motivator and a clarifying lens.

When I catch myself getting bogged down in daily tasks, stressing over small setbacks or annoyances, I try to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. I ask myself, will this still be important to me a week from now? A month? A year?

Truth be told, these often aren’t simple questions with clear-cut answers.

Often, even if the answer is “no,” it’s a local inconvenience that can really throw my day completely out of balance. I try to distance myself and not let one negative experience influence the remainder of the day. Most times, it works; sometimes, it doesn’t, and that’s alright, too.

We have a finite amount of weeks left. Let’s make them count.

Love from Milan,
(where this week Salone Del Mobile descends on the town, increasing occupancy to an astonishing 200%)


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