If Humans Had Expiration Dates, Would We Live Differently?

If Humans Had Expiration Dates

If you knew the exact day that you were going to die, how would you deal with that information?

I think about dying everyday, it is one of the blessings and curses of my chosen profession. Being a funeral director has added an interesting perspective to my life and overall I look at this point of view as a blessing. But like anyone else, there are times when I forget all the lessons that come with this perspective. I can easily get caught up with life’s fast pace and miss out on the purpose of why I am here. For me, that purpose is simple, love one another and enjoy life.

So, what would you do if you knew the date of your death? How would your relationships with your family and friends be affected? Would you start a bucket list? Enroll in yoga? Eat more twinkies?

Do you think it would raise your self-awareness about the value of each moment or would it lead you into depression or panic?

Here’s the good news: none of us know when this day will come and having anxiety over it doesn’t help anyone. But just because we don’t know when that day will come doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t set aside time to  think about it.

I want to dare you to think about your death day.

Take a deep breath, I’m asking you to do this because I believe there are more benefits in thinking about it then you know.

Photo Courtesy of http://cubiclerefugee.tumblr.com/post/28693518364


Try this, the next time you wake up say to yourself, “This is it, my last day on earth – what should this day be like?” – I know you still have to go about your daily routine but how would that mindset change the day-to-day? If it was your last day at work or last meal with your family how would you want to walk out?

Here are the options as I see them, we can leave:

  • Thankful or full of regret
  • Happy or sad
  • Open minded or closed off
  • Mentor or captor
  • In the Present or in the Past
  • Courageous or Fearful

Our avoidance of death or even thinking about death is a unique trait to western society and it’s something I’m passionate about changing. If you look at most other cultures, death is understood and embraced as something to face and consider. We are missing great opportunities to live more fulfilling lives unless we take time to confront our own mortality and consider what legacy we want to leave behind. My encouragement to you is to stop living in fear or avoidance of dying, look at it in the eyes, know that you will meet someday and LIVE accordingly.

So, what would you do if you knew your death date?

*Neil will be speaking TOMORROW, Thursday, August 22nd in the evening at O’Connor Mortuary about what it looks like to plan out the legacy you want to leave behind. He will be joined by financial expert, Robert Trommler of Cooke Wealth Management. This is a one-of-a kind event that we don’t want you to miss.

Please join us for this free informational evening – all you have to do is show up! To learn more, click here.

Molly Keating
Molly Keating
Molly grew up in and around funeral homes her entire life. In 2009 she began working for O'Connor Mortuary and found a bridge between her passion for writing and her interest in grief and bereavement. In 2016 she earned Certification in the field of Thanatology, the study of Death, Dying and Bereavement. She is honored to be able to write about these taboo topics with knowledge, compassion, and a unique perspective.


  1. Neil O’Connor says:

    Hi Tom – Thank you for your reply! I can know you have left a legacy in creating a better world for future generations. I am grateful for your mindfulness.

  2. Fitz says:

    Intriguing blog to say the least. I would spend the last days with those I love and think all positive thoughts about my life. I would surely rest in peace and be happy knowing that the Bears, Bulls, White Sox and Hawks had all won world championships in my lifetime and the cubs did not.
    Thanks for the thought provoking blog.

    • Neil O’Connor says:

      Fitz – Thank you for your Chicago reply! What a great town, I am glad your teams won world championships while you could see them, that is truly amazing!

  3. Elsa says:

    What an interesting thought. It may be the profession I am in, but I too think about this all the time. The wonderful thing about what I do, is that I have learned to really appreciate everyday and live as if it could be my last. For this reason, I enjoy taking care of my health and physical being, so that I can enjoy every bit of what life has to offer. As each day comes to an end, I think about how the details of the day and how things could possibly be better for the next day. I may be a routine type person, but it’s the little enjoyments and pleasures in my daily routines that I find gratification in each day.

    • Neil O’Connor says:

      Hi Elsa – Thank you for your reply! I am glad to know someone else thinks about this too. I see you living your life to the fullest, you have inspired me many times to become a better person. I always enjoy your company, you are full of lightness and greatness.

  4. Anne Anderson Collins says:

    Neil, Thanks for writing this. I would hopefully still be doing what I try to do every day, be light and salt and encouragement, and lead the way into the ark for anyone desiring to follow. I would say “I love you” a lot and mean it and I would make my bed and sweep the dog hair before work.

    • Neil O’Connor says:

      Hi Anne – You are welcome, I love thinking about our next journey! Life is full of mystery and excitement. It’s great to know and see you live your life as it is a gift, that is the gift you give others.

  5. Neil, this question is so intense and while my initial reaction would be to say: I’d move to London, see plays all the time, meet interesting people and have an amazing experience – I feel like that would feel really empty after a while. Truth is I am very fulfilled by the job I have, the relationships I foster, and the life I lead – I don’t know if I would live much differently big picture wise, but certainly other things would be affected like my road rage (why live angrily?), I think I’d wake up just to see some sunrises, hug my family more & give compliments out more generously.
    I love this question and the razor like quality it has on perspective, priorities and values. Thank you so much for this blog!

    • Neil O’Connor says:

      Hi Molly – Thank you for your comments! I hope this blog helps you in creating the mind set that today is your last day. Life is meant to live on the razors edge, live your life as it was your first day on earth and as it was the last day on earth.

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