Monday, May 3, 2010

Numbering my Satur-days

A couple of years ago I received an e-mail with a story--you know, one of those inspirational tales that travels endlessly around the Internet like the story of the Ancient Mariner. Usually, I delete them, but this one got my attention.

It was about a man who figures out that if you live to be 75, you will have spent 3900 Saturdays. He goes to a toy store and buys enough marbles to equal the Saturdays he has left to live, puts the marbles in a jar and takes out one each week to remind him that life is fleeting and he should make the most of it.

The idea intrigued me. Loss has taught me both the fragility and the beauty of life. I want to live the remainder of my days mindfully and joyfully.

Why not emulate the marble-counting fellow in the story, I thought. But, is 75 the cutoff age? True, it's longer than the biblical three score and ten, but for me it didn't seem long enough. Should I guesstimate how many Saturdays I had left? No, I decided I'd look up the date of my impending demise on

I visited the website and learned I'm going to live to be 79. Yay!

You may wonder how this mysterious website calculates one's end. Apparently they use some sort of actuarial table. I mentioned the site to a friend who is eleven days older than I am; she looked up her date of death ande found it was exactly eleven days before mine. I was disappointed. I'd expected something more...supernatural, I guess.

At any rate, armed with my final date, I calculated 338 Saturdays left.

I didn't especially want to invest in 300 plus marbles, so I bought a bag of M&M's. I figured it would be more fun to eat away my Saturdays than to discard a marble every week.

So each Saturday I nibble one candy and remember how thankful I am for another week of life and health, and I promise myself I won't waste a second of the time I have left.



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