I first became aware of my own mortality when I was 10 years old. It was in February 1986 and my 5th grade class was all abuzz about Halley's Comet. Our science lessons were focused on it. We had lessons on how to safely view it at night. And Dad and I even went out with night vision goggles to look at it.
It was amazing. I was in such awe and wonder.
After it passed, my 5th grade teacher said, "The next time Halley's Comet comes around, you'll all be in your 80s."
In my 80s? That didn't seem possible. I was still reeling from the joy of finally reaching the double digits. No way was I ever going to one day be as old as my great-grandparents. Or was I? The thought left me somber and quiet for a long while.
I don't really think of my mortality much anymore, or I didn't until I saw a picture on Facebook that said "12/12/12 is the last repetitive date you'll see in your lifetime."
That means there will be generations that never see one at all, as the next one is 1/1/2101. And just like with Halley's Comet, that leaves me in awe and a bit somber.
This year has been an amazing year for many different reasons, which I will discuss in another post, and rolling over this notion of never seeing another repetitive date in my lifetime makes me realize how many very cool things we take for granted. The internet, cell phones, online gaming, Skype, modern medicine, organ transplants, airplanes. All very ordinary to us, but all very extraordinary.
Perhaps the reflective nature of this time of year has me more sentimental than I would normally be, but I am once again reminded of my own mortality and the finite existence I have in this world. That I'll never again see something because I'm going to be dead the next time it happens is kinda cool, kinda morbid, and entirely humbling.