Better off with a known expiry date??

I used to think it was wonderful to be naive about the world and all its mysteries. Ignorance, or the lack of it, might keep you from wasting time and energy worrying about something you don’t know much about.

Recently, I binge-watched the Netflix series “Manifest”. The story follows 191 people who were aboard an aircraft from Jamaica to New York City that went missing and eventually resurfaced five and a half years later. Putting aside the specifics of what those passengers and their close families went through after their return, many of them eventually come to terms with the fact that they have an expiration date—the day on which they will inevitably perish.

As most people don’t know how or when they’ll die, death is a topic heavily regulated by many faiths. For as long as I can remember, I’ve held the belief that every soul must eventually die. We have no way of knowing when our time will come, therefore we should constantly be ready for it by conducting ourselves in an ethical and rightful manner. What if we find out our time is up? If we knew when we were going to die, wouldn’t we be able to live our lives more purposefully?

I saw being oblivious to one’s own mortality is a significant benefit, else people would spend the time mourning and fretting about it, and pandemonium would ensue if hope didn’t prevail every second. Some people may choose suicide because they cannot accept the reality that their time on earth is limited. When the characters in “Manifest” were truly coming to terms with their “expiration date” and making plans to spend their remaining time helping their fellow humans, there was a profound lack of self-interest agendas, accompanied by a resolve to help others around you as much as possible and make the most of the time you had.

I’ve spent the better part of my career as a financial planner for businesses, and I’m just as much of a control freak in every other aspect of my life. Both short-term and long-term planning have their advantages and disadvantages. Nonetheless, planning is always better than making decisions on the spur of the moment. My experiences have taught me that a life that is carefully crafted is far more satisfying than one that is left to the whims of chance.

What was science fiction a generation ago is now commonplace. Perhaps one day science will find a means to determine when our lives will end. After that, we’d be in a stronger position to formulate plans, put those ideas into effect, and live differently!

Don’t waste a single moment, life has an expiration date!

Author’s Bio:

Asma Jan Muhammad is a finance specialist by day and a writer by night. Her extensive exposure to corporate financial management has honed her analytical skills which she aspires to use to inspire others. Her publications include “Reflections” and co-authored books “She Dares” and “She is Remarkable”.  Asma believes in enabling others and in promoting tolerance, diversity, and equality through her writings.


  • Huda Hussain
    March 26, 2023

    I am a little skeptical about science finding the means which let us know our expiry date until and unless humans are made by science or science could control some of the aspects of a human. For example China is continously experimenting towards artificial genes which will give parents the freedom to decide how their child should be i.e fair, intelligent so on.

    As knowing of expiration date is consider, your point is valid that if we would have known the date we would not dilly dally in our life insteas we focus on striving to make our life meaningful but for most of the humans out there will mourn and worry about it and as you said some may even die before their date so for me ignorance is a bliss. Some things are better left unknown.
    Overall the article was a great read.

    • asma
      March 26, 2023

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Huda.


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