Monday, May 11, 2009

Jar Full O' Marbles

Yikes, it's been over a month since my last blog post. I've been keeping rather busy with my job, spring yard work, the family and other obligations. Sadly, those distractions have allowed time to slip away from me. That can be a dangerous thing.

I used to be frightened about letting time go by so fast that I would forget about the really important things in life; God, family, friends... all of those things that often bring regret or guilt once you realize that you've been missing them. Years ago, I was fortunate enough to come across an idea to track time that is worth sharing. The concept is to track time visually and to actively participate in a countdown. Being physically involved in the process helps to make certain that you maintain perspective on what amount of time may remain ahead for you.

Here's how it works. I keep a set of glass jars next to my nightstand that are full of marbles. There are a specific number of marbles; one for each week that I may expect to be alive.

Yes, I know this sounds a bit morbid, but bear with me.

After making an assumption on how long that I may expect to live, barring some type of fatal accident or illness (see Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Life expectancy), I purchased a quantity of marbles that represented the number of weeks that may remain in my life. Then, each week I remove a marble to be discarded, and contemplate the number that remain in the jars.

Over the course of time, the number of marbles has visibly gotten smaller. Enough so, that I am reminded about how short our time on earth is. How important it is to cherish the time that we have. How our lifestyle choices may have an impact on the number of marbles that remain in those jars.

Although some may find this idea sad or depressing, I find it rather uplifting. When I see the jars in my bedroom each day, I think about how fortunate I am to have so much time left to live a fulfilling life and how important it is to be grateful for the time that has already passed. The marbles remind me to love my wife and children. To spend time with my parents and friends. To live my life in a way that is spiritually fulfilling.

Those simple glass jars filled with marbles have helped me to live my life with no regrets. If your life is going by too quickly, you may want to consider doing something similar. After all, marbles are very cheap, and life is much too valuable.