What is my deadline?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 May, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 May, 2003, 12:00am

I want to know when I will die.

No kidding. As I sipped coffee in an empty cafe and glanced around the quiet mall at the height of the Sars outbreak, the thought came again.

If you believe something in life is destined to be, then knowing when you'll die seems very practical.

If I knew I would not die from atypical pneumonia, I wouldn't have to worry about it. (That said, precautions should still be taken. Falling ill isn't much fun either.)

More importantly, I would be able to make sure that when the day comes, I had done everything I longed to do.

But where can I find a good fortune teller?

It doesn't help to get a second opinion. What if one says it will happen soon (touch wood), but another says there will be another 70 years?

Eager for an answer, I turned to friends for suggestions.

'No, you don't want to know that,' one exclaimed. 'If things in life can be planned down to the very last detail, there will be no more surprises.

'Then, by the time your life is about to end, you will say, how boring it has been.'

But then, modern life is full of routines: when to go to school or work, when to eat or sleep, and what days are for work or rest. In a way, the smallest details of life have already been arranged. Yawn.

The best surprises often come from breaking these routines. It helps to travel once in a while. Good books, films, or music that take me to a new world also work wonders.

Knowing when I'll die would be an effective reminder. Knowing the exact end-point highlights the fact that life is of limited time only. That's why taking a break to enjoy life is just as important as accomplishing all my goals before the 'deadline'.

Otherwise, when death suddenly looms, I may just look back and say, 'How boring it has been.'

Do you happen to know a good fortune teller? I mean, he or she has to be very, very good indeed ...

Ms Yow is a Young Post reporter