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Optimizing the Interval

“Several hours or several years of waiting is all the same when you have lost the illusion of being eternal.” — Jean-Paul Sartre, The Wall

“Those who are truly decrepit, living corpses, so to speak, are the middle-aged, middle-class men and women who are stuck in their comfortable grooves and imagine that the status quo will last forever or else are so frightened it won’t that they have retreated into their mental bomb shelters to wait it out.” — Henry Miller

On the face of it, this pair of quotes might feel morbid and dark, but they’re simply pointing out the obvious. Memento mori: we all must die, so what will we do with the time left to us? We ought to make it something worthwhile. And so it is that at some point in our lives we truly recognize that someday our time will end. That moment of realization until the last moment of our lives is our interval. We owe it to our fragile selves to optimize that interval.

Given the outcome, shouldn’t we stack as many healthy, fully vibrant and alive days into that interval as possible? Lean in to consistent exercise and good nutrition, that we might not one day surprisingly soon erode into a shell of ourselves. Read the great books now, that we might build our foundation stronger, and sit at the table of the greatest minds awaiting our arrival. Contribute something tangible in this world, not to be remembered, but to sustain the positive momentum the best of humanity offers. These are worthy goals for an interval as shockingly brief as this.

Several hours or several years are just the same, friends, we must seize what flees.

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