It is a bit morbid but I alway thought that I would die young, more specifically in my early thirties. I am not sure why I thought that way. I never had a death wish. It was just a feeling. In all likelihood, I thought it would have been a tragic car accident or perhaps simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I survived two major car accidents. Totaled two cars. I was beat up a few times. Someone tried to rob me with a knife. Someone also shot at me once. Good thing most people are terrible shots. Other than those incidents, my only major bodily injuries were a shoe thrown at my head by my cousin and an elbow to my face during a pickup basketball game. Both scars from both messy bloody incidents have since faded but were by no means deadly. But overall, I am glad that I'm still alive.
Ironically, thinking that I will die soon ended up being one of the best things in my life. Steve Jobs in his famous Stanford commencement speech said "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life." I could not agree more. It gave me a sense of urgency in my early life that allowed me to have so many amazing experiences because I always took the path of least resistance. Working hard and being a good employee was never very difficult. Doing the 9-5 thing was easy. The "dying young" mindset made me take risks that I would have otherwise avoided because I though life may never give me the opportunity again. Quitting my job and traveling in my twenties was scary and filled with uncertainty. Despite all the fear, I was able to see a lot of world and meet so many interesting people. It forced me to live in the present because the future did not exist. The future never exist if you think you're going to die; then all that matters is now. You do not have time for the past either. Only now matters. But the best thing of all, it gave me a sense to gratitude because any bad day is better than death. It is a practice that has been ingrained in my daily routine. I wake up to be amazed that I get to live another day.
Today I no longer feel that I will die young now that I am much closer to forty than thirty. Even if I die now, most people would not call me young. I think about the future much more now. I think about retirement and getting wrinkles. I do a lot of preparation for hopefully aging gracefully. I think about hobbies that I can take up once my knees give out and my reflexes are slower than snails. I never had a five or ten year plan because what was the point before. Now I think at least half a decade ahead. That mindset definitely helps with the life planning thing. My views have changed and my plans are no longer about flying by the seat of my pants. I guess one day, I will write about why you should think you will grow old.