For over 60 years in a row, global life expectancy has increased by 9 hours a day. This means that for each day we live, global life expectancy increases an additional 9 hours for those who do not die that day. That is truly astounding if you give it time to sink in.

The more difficult part is figuring out what we have contributed to our world with these longer leases.

And, I think it is important to think of life as a lease, because we cannot truly own nothing, including life. Things can only own us, and often do, but things cannot really be the other way around, no matter how much we think it is so.

If you have ever had a chance to visit one of the old mansions that dot every major city, you have gotten a taste of what that really means. I have visited many of them, partially out of an interest in history, and partially to remind myself of how foolish we can be to struggle for things we cannot keep.

Most of these huge old homes were built in the “owner’s” twilight years, with a good number of them remaining unfinished at the time that their “owners” passed away. So instead of enjoying the fruits of their long struggle to become wealthy, these builders were instead consumed with building a monument to their own success, which soon becomes a dinosaur at their passing.

We so often forget that the curse of man at the “Fall” was that he would struggle, and so we do; but instead of coming to natural terms with this curse, we add to it of our own doing. Who would rationally add to his own curse? Well, you would be surprised.

I am reading the book, Walden right now to my wife, who grew up in Denmark. She is unfamiliar with most of our classics, so I am rediscovering them at that the same time that she is discovering them for the first time.

In Walden, Thoreau understood how foolish it was to add to his own curse, and instead, chose another path. If you reread his book for yourself, you will see how most of his observations about 1845 America are still applicable today.

Here are just a few of quotes from his book to help whet your appetite:

“The Mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.”

“A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

“The true price of anything you do, is the amount of time that you exchange for it.”

“To know that we know what we know, and that we do not know what we do not know, that is true knowledge.”

I encourage you to take inventory of your life. What will you spend your additional 9 hours on, should you live for another day?

It may not actually need to involve doing anything other than pondering what is truly important.

“Because in the long run, we only hit at what we aim.” – Henry David Thoreau