Reaper Repellant Part 3: How to Keep the Grim Reaper at Bay

We are gathered here today to drive the final nail in the Grim Reaper’s coffin. We’re going to put the fun in funeral, kids!

So far we’ve covered six ways to stave off the Reaper, in an effort to live the liveliest versions of our lives (in Part One and Part Two):

  1. Get new parents (or, take happiness into your own hands).
  2. Pull the plug on your dead-end job.
  3. Put a fork in Parkinson’s Law.
  4. Stop living on a whim.
  5. Embrace the lows of life.
  6. Get your beauty sleep (and don’t forget to floss).

Because you want to live to see another delicious day/ decade, read on.

Reaper Repellant #7:
Bust the boredom.

Does your life feel like it has a fine layer of dust on it? Like fun is being had out there, but definitely not by you?

Two main notes on boredom:

Point 1: Boredom has been called a crisis of desire.
Are you self-aware enough to know what makes you feel most alive? And are you willing enough to DO those things, so as not to bore yourself to death?

Point 2: Boredom is the luxury of those who have lost perspective on their impermanence (*gasp!*).
Taking the number of Mondays you have left for granted makes you lose perspective on how precious your time left really is. If you knew you were going to kick the bucket 30 days from today, for example, would you be bored between now and then? Or would you be sure to stuff as much meaning and vitality and al pastor tacos in as possible? Begin with the end in mind, and see how it snaps you to attention to participate in the ticking time bomb of your life.


  • Check out this little collage ‘o doodle I made about boredom. There are a bunch of Covid references from back then, but guys—boredom is timeless, and the pandemic just gave us an excuse to be bored. We can’t even lean on that excuse anymore.
  • Make a list of boredom busters (i.e.: things you enjoy doing but somehow forget to do when the boob tube lures you into its snare). Commit to participating in SOMETHING/ ANYTHING to snap out of the zombie zone.
  • Create an un-boring ritual that guarantees you’ll get out there and live a little (or a lot). Maybe you try a new cuisine every Sunday night? Try happy hour at a new place every Wednesday after work? Plan a family excursion the first weekend of every month? Explore a new neighborhood in your city every other Saturday? Research a new topic and present it at a lunch and learn at work every quarter?

Reaper Repellant #8:
Imagine being a happy old fogie.

Research shares that how you think you’ll be in old age is a reliable predictor of how you’ll actually be in old age. If you imagine yourself as the person you want to be into the future, and choose an optimistic mindset that you can actually become that version of yourself in your old age, you’ll not only influence your aging outcome but you’ll also live longer. They say that people at 50 who envision themselves positively when they’re older and grayer (like as a social, active, healthy person) live 7.5 years longer than those who are Negative Nancy’s about the future (like those who expect to be chronically sick, dependent on others, frail, and all-around cranky curmudgeons).


  • Make a list of who you hope to be when you’re old—at whatever age ‘old’ means to you. Can you deliberately imagine yourself as a vibrantly alive person as you age? Perhaps you want to be thoroughly engaged in hobbies . . . connected to a strong network of friends and family . . . always on the go, getting an impressive number of steps in each day . . . always learning and growing and reading and taking classes . . . helping out in the community . . . whatever floats your boat. Visualize the vibrant, elderly version of yourself and hold onto that.
  • Read my little ditty called At What Age Are You Old? Reframe how you see old age, and then start living a life that proves your best days are ahead of you, not behind you.

Reaper Repellant #9:
Befriend the Grim Reaper.

I am such a hypocrite; it’s true. I go on and on about avoiding the Reaper—living in such a way to keep him at bay—and then I encourage you to sleep with the enemy. But as the saying goes, we must keep our enemies close so they don’t prematurely kill us.

Remember that one time I wrote a Love Letter to the Grim Reaper? You don’t have to go so far as to profess your undying love (bahahaha, get it? Undying?) for him, but it just might behoove you to respect him and how he (unwittingly) helps you live your life with more intention.

Many of the leaders I work with hate their competitors for snagging a chunk of their market share . . . but they also respect the shit out of them because their competitors keep them on their toes, push them to innovate, force them to improve, and help them avoid complacency. While the Reaper might not be your competitor (unless you are a serial killer, and if so, can I please politely ask for you to unsubscribe from my newsletter?), he helps you AVOID COMPLACENCY.
Complacency is a silent killer: it snuffs the life out you and leaves you wondering what you did with your life—that life that once held so much potential and possibility. Complacency curdles into regrets, and regrets are fantasy fodder for the Reaper. Let’s kill complacency before it kills us.


  • Get a RESPECT THE REAPER tattoo. Or, write those words out on a sticky note and put it near your laptop.
  • Keep memento mori reminders close by: little skulls, pictures of deceased loved ones, even flowers that eventually get old and die . . . any prompts to help ground you in the awareness that life is finite, and therefore immeasurably valuable, and therefore worth getting on with.

Reaper Repellant
Look at you, all armed with nine ways to beat back the Grim Reaper!

Doesn’t it feel empowering to know you could handle yourself in a dark alley with an ominous, scythe-holding hooded figure? Every day you take purposeful action to live, rather than merely exist, is a win for you and a loss for Grim.

I hope you die an extraordinarily slow death. (That might have come out wrong?)
Take two: I hope you don’t make the Reaper’s acquaintance until maaaaaaaany Mondays past your 4,000th. And because life is going to do what it’s going to do, if you do live less than 4,000, I hope you make your Mondays nothing short of astonishing.

Jodi Wellman

P.S.: Let’s Instagram together!

P.P.S.: Oh and just in case you missed it… I’d love you forever if you took 16 minutes out of your life to watch my TEDx talk!


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