I was told: ‘Don’t forget, you’re going to die’ 5 times a day by a mindfulness app I tried

Illustration. Photo by Getty Images
Illustration. Photo by Getty Images
  • I decided to download an app that reminds you that death is imminent as I could see the potential value in it - though a few of my pals were understandably freaked out by the idea of the app.
  • Sometimes - read often - I tend to sweat the small stuff, so perhaps being reminded that life is short could do me good.
  • Here's what a week of being reminded that life is short did to my mindset.

It's Tuesday night and I'm sipping an espresso martini while on a date with my boyfriend, taking in the gorgeous sunset at Sydney Harbour.

Life in that exact moment is pretty dandy and I can't help but smile. Then my phone buzzes with a new notification and the message chills me to my core.

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'Don't forget, you're going to die' it reads. This isn't a scene from the latest horror flick, and I don't have a crazy stalker in my Life, believe it not, I've actually paid money for this message to be sent my way.

Enter WeCroak, an app that reminds you five times a day that death is imminent. The app, the brainchild of a publicist and app developer, was born out of the Bhutanese folklore, saying that to be happy, we need to contemplate death five times a day.

The notifications, which arrive at random intervals throughout the day, are accompanied by a 'death-themed quote - some heavy, some light-hearted.

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Monday

I downloaded the app and I'm actually excited for my first message to appear (morbid, much?). When it does, I read my very first death quote while getting ready for work.

It reads, 'Life is a spark between two identical voids, the darkness before birth and the one after death.' I sit for a moment and contemplate its meaning. I try really hard to be philosophical about it, but I'm running late for the bus, so I just shake it off. In the coming hours, I receive more death reminders and quotes and to be honest, I'm struggling to understand them. I'm hoping to get one that just says, 'Life is short, appreciate what you have', but nothing that simple arrives.

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Tuesday

I'm getting into the swing of the app and I'm no longer surprised when the 'Don't forget, you're doing to die' notification comes through. That is until the aforementioned sunset date with the BF. The quote says, 'You may win your heart's desire, but in the end, you're cheated of it by death.'

I can't lie - I'm instantly deflated. My boyfriend and I are pretty fresh, but I feel like this quote is telling me that even though I might finally get the guy I deserve, it's fleeting and soon enough, it will all be gone. If this was meant to make me feel good and embrace life more, it's had the opposite effect. Two thumbs down for WeCroak.

Wednesday

After yesterday's downer, I'm feeling more positive about the whole experiment. I realise I'm trying too hard to make it a life-changing experience rather than just shift my way of thinking. And it doesn't take long until I get the justification I've been waiting for.

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During my lunch break, I find myself rushing around the city, trying to find the perfect dress for an event that weekend. I have a mini-meltdown in the changing room when I can't find anything I like and resign myself because I will look terrible at this party.

Like a sign from above (or the app store), my phone pings with a new death quote. 'Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.' Reading it, I want to smack myself. My Life could change in a second and I'm having a teary moment over the fact I can't do up the zipper on a playsuit I like. This is the 'get a grip' moment I needed.

Thursday 

I'm planning on having a chilled out night at home, but WeCroak has other ideas. While tucking into a dinner of scrambled eggs on toast and binging on UnREAL, the app tells me that I'm wasting my life away. Well, WeCroak, I've had a hectic week, and this gal would like a night in with a bottle of wine, so please hold off on the lecture.

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Friday 

While scrolling through Instagram, I get a reminder, 'He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life'. This makes me take stock for a moment. Instead of scrolling through my feed looking at everyone else living their lives, maybe I should get up and do something more productive, more meaningful.

I throw on some gym gear and call a friend I haven't caught up with in months. Later that day, I booked a holiday to visit loved ones and realise the death reminders might have some merit after all.

Even though I don't think it's completely changed me, it's made me realise it's important not to sweat the small stuff and remember to appreciate those that mean the most to you. 

Have you ever used an app that impacted your life? Tell us about it here.

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