The impending birth of my third child made me think about this song. I never thought about my own mortality in the context of my first two children, because they were born when I was much younger. Right now, my son is eighteen (and will be nineteen in just over two months), while my daughter is seventeen. By the time I die, they will likely be well-established as adults.
Graeme Edge, who wrote the song, is a little off on his math, although that is probably partially due to the fact that the song was written in the late 1970s and life expectancies have changed. If the song were written now, it would probably be something like 29,000 days. The point, however, remains: Our time is finite, and can be measured in something as mundane as the length of a day, which somehow makes it more immediate than the usual method of measuring lifespans in years. I think this is because we make decisions on a regular basis about how we spend a particular day, but a year is so abstracted from our regular decision-making that we don't really think about how we spent our year. We don't think about how that one day represents a fraction of the time we have, but this song hits you square in the face with that reality.
When my third child is born, I will already be forty-eight. With my first two children, I figured that absent some accidental death in a car wreck or airplane crash or something similar, I would be around for their entire childhoods and well into their adult years. With Sophie, on the other hand, I kind of worry that I'll run out of days. I have already spent about 17,500 of my days. If I live a normal life span, I have fewer than 12,000 days left - I have lived more days already than I am likely to continue living from this point going forward. If I live that long, Sophie will be 32 when I die. I hope I can see more of her life than that, but if that's all I get, it will have to do.
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