UpGraded Senior

Lifestyles for Active Seniors!

On the Shortness of Time (and It's Misuse)

"You may delay, but time will not."  --- Benjamin Franklin

As we get older I think our appreciation of time increases.  We are more mindful of how we "invest" our time.

And yet, I read a statistic recently that set me to wondering just how careful we really are with the use of our time.

The statistic was that Americans spend, on average, 5 hours per day watching television, and that figure increases among older Americans.

Consider This . . .

A 70 year old person has lived 25,550 days.  On average, he/she has watched 5 hours of TV each of those days.

5 hours of TV per day times 25,550 days lived by a 70 year old = 127,750 hours of television.

127,750 hours of TV divided by 8,760 hours in a year = 14.58 years out of a 70 year life watching TV.

Average Day of American

The Back Door To a Longer Life

As UpGrading Seniors we spend a fair amount of time thinking about ways to live longer.

Presumably, we want to live longer so we will have more time to enjoy our family, friends and the activities that enrich our lives.

Given the statistics above, is it possible that being more mindful of how we are using the time which has already been assigned to us might, in effect, extend our "useful" lives without the necessity of extending our actual lives?

Less time watching TV or engaging in other mindless default activities which are burning up time but yielding no return on the time invested might be a good strategy to effectively "put more life in our years."

"In the end It's not the years in your life that count, but the life in your years."
--- Abraham Lincoln

This article doesn't seek to indict people who choose to watch TV, or to attempt to discourage them from doing so.  That comes squarely within the "none of my business" framework.

If TV is a leisure activity that you enjoy and you share with family and friends, then it is time well-spent.  It is when you find yourself watching TV even when there is nothing worthy of your time and attention (as often occurs) that it becomes problematic.

"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." 
--- Marthe Troley-Curtin

But, as we approach the end of another year, I thought it might be a good time for us, as  UpGrading Seniors, to pause for a few moments to review how we are spending our time and consider whether we are using it wisely - or perhaps allowing it to mindlessly slip away.

"The quickest way to run out of time is to think that you have enough of it.
--- Stewart Stafford

Speaking from personal experience, I know just how easy it is to spend our time in ways which, upon reflection, were not the best use (or even a good use) of our time.

"Busy is a decision. You don't find time to do things.  You make time to do things.
--- Maria Popova (with an assist from Kierkegaard)

"Those who make the worst use of their time are the first to complain of its brevity.
--- Jean de La Bruyere

I hear many people (including retired seniors) complaining about how busy they are and how little time they have to do the things they really enjoy.

These folks look forward to an imagined future when time will expand and afford them the luxury of both living and enjoying their lives.

And yet, many of these same people are the ones watching hours of TV or idling away the hours on Facebook every day.

I'm going to spend a little time considering how best to invest my time in the coming year so that I can get the best possible return on investment.  Maybe this is an exercise you would benefit from as well.

I'll leave you with some insightful comments from one of my favorite Stoic philosophers.  Seneca's writings on time are the most useful I've found - ever!

The Wisdom of Seneca

"While we are postponing, life speeds by.  Nothing, Lucilius, is ours, except time.  We were entrusted by nature with the ownership of this single thing, so fleeting and slippery that anyone who will (TV, etc.) can oust us from possession."

"Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is wasted in heedless luxury and spent on no good activity, we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it. Life is long if you know how to use it.

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