December 5, 2020

Life is a Box of Chocolates...or Jelly Beans

First posted over seven years ago, this is one of the more powerful visuals I have seen in quite a while. In a way you can't ignore, it shows us the effects of decisions we make with the time given to us. Then, it asks some important, possibly life-changing questions.


With a new year just ahead, this seems like a good opportunity to talk about time.


Watch the video, read my recap, and see what your answers may be.





If all that went by too quickly, the average American will live 28,835 days, or 79 years. How do we spend that time?

  • Just to get to the edge of adulthood, age 15 in this example, we spend 5,475 days.
  • 8, 477 days are spent asleep
  • 1,635 days are spent eating and preparing food
  • 3,202 days are spent at work
  • 1,099 days are spent commuting to that work, or other errands
  • 2,676 days are spent watching television in some form
  • 1,576 days are spent doing chores and household duties
  • 564 days are spent caring for family and friends
  • 671 days are spent bathing, grooming, and other bathroom duties
  • 720 days are spent on community and religious activities

That leaves, on average, 2,740 days, or 7.5 years of our life to do everything else that interests or motivates us.

So, the obvious questions:

*Depending on your age, how many "beans" do you think you may have left?

*What do you plan on doing with them?

*What if only half of those 2,740 beans are left in your pile. Now what?

*What if only half of that half is left? What would you do differently?

*How are you going to spend your remaining beans?


Makes you think, doesn't it?

17 comments:

  1. It does make you think and and for a while I have been aware of my mortality. I have always had in my mind that I expect to live age 80. I might make it or I might not, with luck I might exceed that but that's what I have in my mind, which at this point means I have 13 years to go. My wife thinks it's morbid but for me it keeps me aware that this is what I have left and if there's something I want to do I have those years to do it in.

    This means I live more in the present than I used to. By nature I am a planner and I spent a lot of years saving for and preparing for the future. With the knowledge that I have 13 years to go (approximately) then for all practical purposes now is the future. If I want to see Paris for example then I'd best get there while I can. Why am I waiting? Why am I worried about holding on to my savings? If I want to hike across Ireland (or Maine) I'll never be in better shape than I am right now.

    Of course I am still careful and prudent, you don't change habits created over a lifetime easily, but when I start to get anxious I remind myself... Exactly what am I saving it for? If I don't do it now then when?

    Hopefully I will live well past 80 but I think of it as a hockey playoff game and at that point we go into overtime. The score is tied and we are playing as hard as we can, we are still in the game and there is a chance. Perhaps there's one overtime period, them two. As tired as we are we keep skating hard but when the puck finally goes in the net, we won't be on the winning team.

    That's life and that's how it goes. Be sure to enjoy the game.

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    1. Good summary of your view of mortality, David.

      I am well aware that there is an end coming, but I haven't picked a likely finish line like you. I try to live each day in a way that does no harm to others, makes me and my immediate family happy, and if lucky, have the chance to ease someone else's burden. I am pleased with my life to date and would change very little of what has happened if that were an option.

      I will keep going until I am gone. How old will be I be when there is no more me? I have no idea and don't plan on assuming a certain age.

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    2. I don't really assume an age when I will be gone, just that if there are things I want to do having them done by age 80 is a good target (I am a planner after all). After that I figure it's bonus time and I'll be grateful for every minute of it.

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    3. The way this world is careening from crisis to crisis, almost everything feels like a bonus!

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  2. I was always amazed that almost none of us will live even a million hours. At 8760 a year times 80 is just 700,800 hours and a good third of that sleeping...all this puts it into perspective as to not "sweat the small stuff"....easier said than done though.

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    1. The number of hours spent with television and entertainment media is disturbing to me. Since most of that is simply a time-filler, what else could I do with even a portion of those 2,700 days?

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  3. What a cool video. I loved how the TV they made out of jelly beans had rabbit ears, don't think younger people would know what those are. And I find it amusing that the video makers choose to spend their free time playing with jelly beans---that much have been time consuming! We all are such creative creatures.

    If the average person only lives to 79 I'll be on borrowed time next year. It's a stark realization that our time on earth is coming to an end. I mean we all know we're going to die but that's filed under the label of "someday way off in the future" for most of us.

    To answer the last question in the video, if I knew I only had one more day what would I do with it? I'd make sure my dog had a new home then call five people to say goodbye.

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    1. If I knew I had only one more day, I'd spend it with family, letting them know how important they have been to me, expect them to grieve a little but to celebrate a life well lived more, and know I have no regrets for the life I have led.

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  4. I often think: No one wants to die. But if we ever stopped to realize that we spend almost a third of our lives "dead to the world" (i.e. asleep) we'd all regard it was a tragedy. And yet we take it as a matter of course. I dunno. You asked what we think. Just a random thought.

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    1. That fact coupled with the amount of time watching TV does serve as a wakeu8p call. We have less than 10% of our total lifespan to do things that truly excite or motivate us. There is no time to waste and no time like the present to start figuring out the best use for those jelly beans!

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    2. Well to many, a good TV show or a series is enjoyment. No different than reading a book. It’s the little things that often make for happiness and contentment. They’re familiar tried and true tasty jelly beans.
      I for one, don’t want to be so busy, I’m stressed. Like sitting outside with a nice cup of coffee or a glass of wine and listening to the birds. Nothing wrong with that.

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  5. It has to be a balance though, life’s a marathon not a sprint and I’d end up feeling a trifle nauseous if I tried to cram as many as possible of those remaining jelly beans in my mouth at once!

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    1. How true. Moderation in everything, including moderation.

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  6. I remember reading this somewhere a few years ago and it served as a good wake up call. Being in the 3rd quarter of life I feel some urgency knowing there is only so much time left. I now make decisions based on ROTI (Return on Time Invested) and ROMI (Return on Money Invested) An example of low ROTI would be watching Netflix reruns vs going to the gym. A low ROMI would be buying a new couch for our living room a room we are seldom in vs taking trip to Italy.

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    1. I like the ROTI idea. While a good movie or show on Netflix at night can be entertaining and relaxing, I make it a personal rule to not watch any TV before dinnertime. Daylight hours, especially at this time of year in the desert southwest, are meant for more active pursuits.

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  7. I’m sorry to say that I spend a lot of time every day staring at a screen, especially during this year of the pandemic. I do little watching of TV or Netflix, but I spend a lot of time reading the news, playing Words with Friends, doing Zoom meetings, practicing a second language on Duolingo, following blogs, and writing. I’d like to spend fewer of my precious jellybeans on screen time — that is not the retirement I envisioned for myself. Although, I don’t believe my screen time has increased since retiring; it has just shifted from staring at my work computer answering emails, etc. to the activities I’ve listed above.

    Jude

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    1. It is addictive, I am afraid. FOMO (fear of missing out) strikes us all. I must say, though, your screen time seems a lot more productive th.an mine!

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