Friday, April 13, 2012

More on using the moments

kw: musings, time perspective

Three days ago I posted about how some little things I do daily add up over the decades. Of course, my thinking didn't stop there.

Most folks, upon reaching adulthood, have forty to eighty years yet to live. We all have things we must do, and we also do things we like to do. Our habits, weekly or daily, make up the days for us. So in our waking moments, what does a daily minute or a daily hour or quarter hour mean over forty years? If you come of long-lived stock, just double the figures below.

My baseline was the half hour spent each evening brushing teeth and showering, plus the cleanup and dressing, before going to bed. It was easy to note that this uses 1/48th of my total time, or one full year out of each 48. Recalculating for forty years means 40/48, or 304.36 days (304d 9h).

Commuting to and from work used to take me two hours daily, but in the past 16 years, it has been ten minutes each way, which comes to 2/3 of that 1/48 of a day, or 1/72nd of a day, but at a rate of some 240 days per year. In the past 16 years, it adds up to 53d 4h. During the prior ten years, the two daily hours times 240 days added up to 200 days commuting time. Earlier in life I usually had a short commute like I now do, so let's give those 21 years 1/72 of each of 240 days per year, for another 70 days. All totaled up, in 47 years of working life I have spent just over 323 days commuting, or 0.88 year.

On boring days the papers sometimes have an article about how the average American spends six hours daily in front of the TV. Some might, but I suspect for most of us it is less than that. One full hour daily with the TV, over forty years, adds up to twice my shower commitment, or more than 608 days. For the true couch potatoes who spend 6-8 hours daily? It comes to 10-13.3 years of the forty.

How about weekly activities? Some half of Americans spend an hour in church weekly. Ignoring getting ready and commuting, the "pew hours" come to 50 per year (52 for those who attend church while on vacation), or some 2000 hours over forty years. That comes to 83d 8h. Some churches seem to offer more; at least their devotees spend more time there. Say you spend 2 hours on Sunday (one hour in "Sunday school" and one in the "service"), and one hour midweek. That triple time attendance totals 250 days in forty years.

How many do laundry twice weekly? Does it take an hour of your time to wash and dry and sort a load? Maybe half that? That gets you into the same ballpark as attending church an hour weekly. What else do you do weekly; play a half hour of pickup basketball or tennis? That's just over forty days in forty years. How about hitting the gym (aerobics or treadmill) for 30 minutes three times weekly? That is 125 days in 40 years. Not a bad thing to do with just under one percent of your time.

So here are some round figures to think about:
  • One-half hour weekly means about a day per year, or a bit over 40 days in 40 years.
  • One-half hour daily is seven times as much: just over a week per year, or 43 weeks (actually 304 days) in 40 years.
  • Anything you do 8 hours daily, whether sleep or watch TV, is consuming a full third of your time, which comes to 13 years and 122 days in 40 years. Let's just say such a habit finishes eighth grade over a forty year span!
That's all worth a little thought now and then, wouldn't you say?

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