I’m sitting in a Panera Bread working this morning. There’s an older couple across the way who reminds me of an important life-principle.

The woman is denying her age with a face lift that just isn’t working and hair coloring that hasn’t been her own for 25 years (which is fine I suppose). The man is long retired and complaining that the NFL playoff games start so late on the East coast. It’s just not fair. They seem happy with each other; comfortable in a way that would not be easy to replicate–at this point–with another.

I wonder what they were like 40 years ago.

As I look around the room, I see people at various stages of decay–including myself. There’s the frustrated Mom of three teenagers. Across from her is the young couple with two babies. Lots of gray hairs; or what should be gray. And, everything in between.

O ya, the life principle: No matter what we have, no matter how powerful we are, life equalizes everything.

The powerful die just like the poor. Status and importance fade with years. And, except for a very few, 200 years from now, no one will read about any of us in history books.

I’m really not depressed today. I wasn’t really even all that reflective when I walked in the door. I’m just remembering something that, I believe, is good to remember.

I will have an end on this earth.

Philosophers and psychologists alike agree, that it’s good to recognize our mortality. This should not lead to morbid depression, but rather to an appreciation for every moment we experience. Further, knowing that my life here will end, can inform how I live and treat other people.

It’s an interesting adventure, this life. We are born, we spend a lot of time getting ready to do something meaningful in the world, we make connections, have relationships, some of us rear kids, and then we all get old–or not– and leave this planet.

No matter what you think happens after you leave here, I’m reminded this morning that the only thing I can control is how I live WHILE I’m here. A truth worth remembering.