As promised thinking about death to enrich living.  But first a picture.

As Woody Allen quipped  “I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there  when it happens.”

Most of don’t even want to be think about it happening to us. My first job out of graduate school introduced me to several hundred cancer patients and forced me to think about death more than most. Fairly easy when I was in my twenties right on up to my sixties.  Since then it has been a bit harder.

I have several life threatening illnesses, all under control thanks to modern medicine. However,  I am also 76 and even if a stroke or heart attack don’t suddenly sweep me away, I know my time is winding down. I am rushing to meet my goals and fulfill my life’s mission.  If you are my age or younger but struggling with a chronic illness, you are probably doing the same.

Still I agree with Simone de Beauvoir when she said  “…we are having a hard time living because we are so bent on outwitting death.”

 Every year around my birthday, I sit down and plan for more living. Do the same. How? Read on.

Emotional fitness tips to make sure you live until you die.

Actually only one tip.  Ask yourself the following four questions.

1. If you knew you were going to die at this time tomorrow, how would you spend the time left?  Who would you call?   What would you say?  What would you do?

2. If you knew you were going to die in a year, how would you spend the time between now and then?

3. If you knew you were going to die in five years, what would you like to do between now and then?

4. What keeps you from doing these things today.

The first question is fairly common among the various self-help gurus.  The second and third point you toward longer term goals. The fourth urges you to act on your goals.  All for force you to consider your priorities and to remember what matters.

As Steve Jobs noted when facing his death, “.. almost everything all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”

Stay strong

A little denial is good, so don’t feel you have to immerse yourself in thoughts of dying.  Thinking about it in terms of your missions and goals once or twice a year is probably sufficient for living wisely.  But do remind yourself when stress builds or you do to list over whelms you that some things what matter more than others. 


I blog a lot and if you don’t want Emotional Fitness Tips several times a week consider instead signing up for my newsletter which will be sent fortnightly. Sign up here.

For all of you who have supported me and continue to do so , you have warmed my heart and keep me strong.  I hope I do the same for you.



The first and most important: Emotional Fitness Training is a self-help and coaching program. It is not therapy. Nor does it replace therapy when therapy is needed. If the exercises and support provided here do not help you gain control of negative feelings, more may be needed. Support groups, coaching, and therapy are other paths to emotional fitness.

Anyone with suicidal thoughts, thoughts of harming other people, or who enage in harmfur or dangerous out-of-control behaviors needs to get professional help. Anyone with serious suicidal or homicidal plans need an immediate psychiatric evaluation.  Call a suicide hot line if you are unsure of where or how to get help. Suicidal hotlines USA.  Lfe can be better.

The second: I have dysgraphia, a learning disability that peppers my writing with mis-spelling and punctuation errors. All my books are professionally edited. Not so my blog post. Although I use all the grammar and spelling checks, mistakes slip by. If they bother you, seek another source of support for life’s less savory moments.   Life is too short to let problems you can avoid irate you.


  1. Ms. Katherine,
    Once again!! You make some of the most “vague” concepts just “GEL” for me….I have to thank you over and over! And I have to say, it was nice…in a very “Jenn-ish” way…to be acknowledged -sorta- in the section: ” If you are my age or younger but struggling with a chronic illness, you are probably doing the same.”
    Not many people stop to think that it’s not **Just** our Elders who face death. That there are almost MORE “Young Ones” (we’ll say 50 and younger) that are cropping up deathly ill each day. ~~I~~ have been a ‘ticking time bomb” since ~at least~ age 24 *we aren’t sure how much LONGER I had been harboring the conditions with no noticeable signs!
    Your suggestions here are EXACTLY the “rudder” I needed to get my boat going the way I want it to! Off to practice it now! 🙂

    THANK YOU and many Blessings to you and those you care for!

    • I was thinking of you, but also of many others I know who live with either time bombs or chronic pain and physical problems. One of the reasons I rail against the just be happy people.

      Now a request. I would like to forward your comments to my publisher, so she can put them together for an endorsement. I need all the people who find what I say valuable to spread the word and endorsements are one way. Know you will agree, but wanted to ask forst.

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.