It could be a diagnosis, a car accident, unemployment, an unexpected revelation. The next time your life seems to be turned completely upside down remind yourself of this: we all carry time bombs. They explode at an unknown time to us, disrupting our routines. They incur losses and grief, requiring us to rebuild and recover. We survive these explosions; we will survive these explosions; all except one. We will not know which one we don’t survive.

How do we react with carrying time bombs? We can mourn our baggage. We can live in perpetual fear of the next explosion. We can pretend our time bombs don’t exist. We can acknowledge they exist and not give it much thought. We can let these time bombs motivate us to make the most of our time.

Those who are healthy do not usually prefer to associate ourselves with the ill. They are most likely to forget about the time bombs they are carrying. Those who are chronically and terminally ill are reminded daily that time bombs exist. Terminally ill people are probably most prepared in that they have taken steps to minimize the impact of their final explosion to those around them.

Some, especially the healthy, are lulled into the belief that that the terminally ill are the closest to experiencing that final explosion. As a group, they probably are, but there is no guarantee that any one of those time bombs will explode sooner or later and a healthy person’s. No one knows how to defuse a bomb, but societies are becoming increasing accepting of giving people who they believe are soon to experience their final explosion a trigger to trip their bombs themselves.