By Denise Koch

I am among those who stare at my phone while waiting in line, during commercial breaks and whenever I’m a passenger on just about anything. Lately, while thumbing around, I’ve found myself thinking about my apps.

Right now I’ve got what I consider to be a modest amount of apps. And I believe people’s apps can tell you a lot about them and their habits.

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You can catalog my motivation circuit by looking at those I’ve removed. I once had an app called ‘Plant Nanny’ (at the urging of my daughter). It required me to notify it every time I drank water. If I drank an adequate amount the plant grew, thrived. If I forgot to drink it began to wilt. Get it? After about a month of attempting to keep my plant alive I removed the app. (Don’t tell my daughter).

I’ve had apps that were meant to give me a lesson in French every day. You tap, you listen, you repeat and eventually become fluent. It was fun, for a time. Then it wasn’t.

I still have my ‘Fitbit’ App. I use my Fitbit but never refresh the app.

I have an app to plan my travels. You can guess how much I’ve used that app lately.

My favorite Christmas gift this year was an app. My daughters gave me Spotify and their playlists and I expressed my thrill over Zoom Christmas morning. (I have the Zoom App).

The one app I downloaded at least two years ago and use every single day is called ‘WeCroak’. I love it. The creators say it was “Inspired by the Bhutanese folk saying; to be a happy person one must contemplate death five times a day.”

Every day it sends out five ‘invitations’ to stop and think about death. It’s visual symbol is a cute little frog, (WeCroak). It was created by two very young, healthy looking young men gentlemen who also host a podcast and offer another app called ‘Ask Death’. I am not ready for that interview just yet.

You would think, given my profession, I was already fully participating in this form of happiness. But, WeCroak helps you contemplate your death by giving you quotes, facts about morbidity, scientific information about decomposition and interesting thoughts. And it does it exactly five times every single day.

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Every time I pick up my phone there’s a reminder to tap and contemplate.

For instance, I just tapped and read this Sophocles quote: “Time, which sees all things, has found you out.’”

You can’t argue with that!

Earlier today, I tapped and read RuPaul’s perspective: “You are born naked. The rest is drag.”

Mark Strand popped up recently with the quote “Each moment is a place you’ve never been.” Of course!

Sometimes I tap and get rather graphic descriptions of the physical changes that take place in the body when it no longer sustains life. I don’t linger. I tap that away and then wait for my next reminder.

This particular app never disappoints. When I pick up my phone it kindly says, ‘Remember WeCroak’. And we do. All of us. Sooner or later.

So thank you Ralph Waldo Emerson for urging me “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.”

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And living in 2021 includes so many devices. And those devices either serve your life or weigh it down. So, my quote for the day might be, “Choose your apps carefully and don’t clutter your phone so your mind can remain open to contemplate the road to happiness” — which according to WeCroak, has a lot to do with thinking about your death.