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Dead Before 60


What would you do today if you knew you would die before turning 60 years old? I ask you this question because we lost Actor Michael K. Williams and Anchorwoman Allison Payne last week. Respectively, they were 53 and 54 years of age when they made their transition.

In July, we lost Biz Markie, who was also under 60. I shared my thoughts about his shocking death in an earlier post.

We don't know when our time will come, but we must live with the awareness that death is inevitable.

In the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” It’s important to appreciate the days we have to learn, play and do meaningful work.

The recent deaths of Williams, Payne, and a local Antiguan father hit close to home. Among other roles, I enjoyed Williams’ in When They See Us and 12 Years a Slave. He had immense talent. Allison Payne worked for many years as a reporter in my hometown of Chicago. This week, a 49-year-old father of a student at my children’s school passed away due to COVID complications.

It's hard to understand the number of people we lost in the last two years before they reached their 60th birthday.

This week, my wife bought me a face shield. She wants me to wear it with three layers of face masks when I go into the office. Of course, I look ridiculous, but I will wear the contraption if it postpones the need to make my funeral arrangements.

I am not advocating for an overdependence on safety measures to protect your life. While taking care of ourselves, we should also embrace the courage necessary to take risks.

For you, risks may involve investing more money into stocks, bonds, or an index fund. Maybe you decide to use some of your resources and splurge on a trip. To echo the title of Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez's book it’s Your Money or Your Life. Before you turn 60, think, plan, and take some risks to secure your future and support the legacy you will leave behind.

Every person mentioned in this post worked as professionals and provided for their families. They were actors, journalists, siblings, and parents. Similar to you, they experienced some successes and losses.

Highs and lows are partners in a well-lived life.

My point in sharing these words with you this Friday is to get you to pause and reflect on what really matters in your life. We don’t know if we will die before 60 or live to see 100.

Let’s enjoy today’s blessings, make progress on challenging projects, engage in creative play, and find the stillness to clarify our spiritual values.

Share this post with one person if it resonates with you. For more reflections on life and death grab my book, Dear Brother.

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