Now I'd like to talk about something very exciting. You're all going to die!
Memento mori is Latin for "remember that you must die". In medieval times this phrase was used as a reminder that we are mortal, and that earthly goods and pursuits are all transient. Back then it was the mostly about turning your attention towards the immortality of the soul and the afterlife. But honestly, I’m not as interested in that part. I see the modern version of Memento Mori as a reminder that we’re only alive here on this planet for a short time. Maybe eight decades or so if you’re lucky. Of that, you’ll spend around the first quarter in formal education. Then you’ll get maybe 4 or 5 decades of “career” where you’ll spend the majority of your time before wrapping it all up with a couple decades of retirement.
Then you’ll die, and you will stay dead forever.
For me, this is a constant reminder to make the absolute most of my time. It is a framework in which you can make other choices. Watch reality TV or read a book. Spend time in the park with my son, or skim Twitter on the couch. Time is your most valuable currency, and it cannot be accumulated, only spent.
Now if I'm being honest I don't think about my own death every time I fill this with coffee each morning. And I definitely don't think about death every time I take a drink. That would probably drive me insane. But every once in a while, I'd say once a week or so, I see it in that light. It reminds me of why I use it. And that is all I need - at that moment it forces me to stop reading email or whatever I'm doing, and think about what is important to me. That is incredibly valuable.
You don't have to use a skull. It can be a piece of stone to remind you how short your life is in geological time. Or maybe a dried flower. The point is to find something to jolt you out of your routine, and rocket you up about 30,000 feet above your own life so you can see everything from a bigger perspective.