Actually, you probably can - your ancestors, at the time they died, were alive for half or even all of U.S. history to that date. Can you imagine passing away in the late 1800s, having witnessed the birth and entire history of a new nation? Pretty impressive stuff. In our lifetimes, a big chunk of the history books will be made up of stuff we live through: 9/11, Katrina, Madoff, iPods, Facebook, Obama...it's all our piece of history.
Sure, it's a big chunk of time...but it's also all we get. So, of course, we have to make the most of it. And then, afterwards, well...who knows. To use a computer analogy, life is like a progress bar...
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The point, of course, is to not just sit around waiting for the the bar to load.