Saint Benedict recommends that monks keep death daily before their eyes. Focused on the end encourages us not to waste time and to pay attention to each moment of life that we are granted. Oliver Sachs knew he was dying and wrote:
Over the last few days I have been able to see my life as from a great altitude, as a sort of landscape and with a deepening sense of the connection of all its parts. This does not mean I am finished with life. On the contrary I feel intensely alive and I want and hope in the time that remains to deepen my friendships, to say farewell to those I love, to write more, to travel if I have the strength, to achieve new levels of understanding and insight.
This will involve audacity, clarity and plain speaking trying to straighten my accounts with the world But there will be time, too for some fun and even a little silliness as well.
I feel clear focus and perspective . There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at the news every night.