I have a bit of a thought experiment for you. If I gave you an envelope and inside was written the date of your death, would you open it?
I’m not aware of any actual research on this question but in my experience, the answer tends to split a room. 50% of people would likely say they would open the envelope and the other 50% wouldn’t.
It probably won’t come as a surprise to know that I am one of those people in the ‘would’ camp. I would actually want to know the date written in the envelope.
And there are two things I think I would do with that information.
The first thing I’d like to think I’d do, if I knew my death date, is very much ‘Live’!
I think we’re all guilty, me included, of putting things off because I’m going to get around to it at some point in the future, especially things that perhaps I don’t consider urgent or important at this time.
But actually, if I didn’t get around to doing those things then I’d likely regret it. And if I knew the date of my death, I would go out of my way to reduce the amount of regrets that I has as much as possible.
The second thing that I would do if I knew my death date is to ensure that as far as possible, I had everything required about my life written down and in one place.
The idea being that when ‘that day’ came to pass, the people around me would have everything that they needed in order to close my life down.
I would want to try and facilitate their grief in as full and as natural a way as possible through that time of transition, but also try to minimise any added stress. And that’s where End of Life Planning comes in.
Does the Envelope Matter?
The thing is, with both of those points, I don’t have an envelope. I don’t know the date of my death any more than you likely know yours.
The question is – if I did have an envelope with the date of my death inside knowing it would change my behaviour – then just because the envelope doesn’t exist – doesn’t that mean that I should consider changing my behaviour anyway?
That I should try to live my life as fully as possible without regret? That I should make my End of Life Plan, so it’s there for the people around me when they need it?
Because whether the envelope exists or not doesn’t really matter because we should – I think – try to live as fully as possible and plan as much as we can. I’ll leave you with that thought.
Until next time, take care.