I wake up every morning at 6am. Prepare some coffee, have some breakfast and start coding or writing. I squeeze about 1h of work every day while everyone else is sleeping. I do this because my father was diagnosed with brain lymphoma and died of it exactly two years ago today.
His painful journey through the disease shocked me out of my numbness. He wouldn’t be here forever. We all know this, sure. But believe me, we don’t know it. You only grasp it when it hits you hard down your chest and deep in the stomach.
Confronting death is profound. It’s something hard to rationalise. I could only handle it through instinct. And my guts told me to do something. Something else. So I started doing what I was used to: programming, like I did when I was 7 yo with the IBM PC he bought me. It may sound lame to link something so unremarkable as programming with such a deep moment but, believe me, it makes sense for me.
The whole point is that this was a really tough way to gain perspective. And with that perspective came the unsettling void of the lack of purpose. What am I doing? And suddenly the concept of legacy becomes crucial. What will I leave behind? And these questions are hard to figure out, but these are the questions worth asking before you regret it’s too late.
I have 16.000 days before I die. If I factor in the early deaths of my father and grandfather I may be down to 9.800 days. That is 1.400 more blog posts. That is not much. I may have more things to say. This is an uncomfortable truth. But if it takes me, or any of you, out of the comfort of our daily commute, our 9-to-5, our take away dinner, our evening TV show, it would have been worth it. I’m just saying, do something, even if it’s as stupid as programming. I’m still here 4 years later, and will be for at least 10.000 days more.
And yes, thanks for waking me up, dad.