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| Columns |

The Time You Have (In Jelly Beans): Video Puts Your Valuable Time in Sweet Perspective

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For the past few weeks, it's seemed there's not enough time in the day. From the time I wake up., life goes by in a blur... walking the dogs, writing on the computer, doing chores, making dinner.

My husband and I usually have one day off together, and each week we try to plan some quality activity like a nature hike in the Everglades or a boat ride. But the best laid plans sometime go asunder, like this past weekend when lunch and a quick stop at the store ate the entire day. "Wait a minute. It's after four?" I said, looking at my watch. "How the hell did that happen?"

In one of his last songs, John Lennon mused, "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." Then he was murdered by a crazy person in front of his home and his wife.

Humans are extremely good at wasting time. A quick email will turn into an hour perusing kitty videos. A milk run will morph into a full day's shopping excursion. And, a short lunch with a friend will become an epic four-hour meal. Not that that's bad. Sometimes we need to tune out and time spent with a good friend is always valuable. But we do waste time. And time is precious.

And limited.

How limited? Time is sometimes represented as sands in an hourglass, but it's still hard to count the grains as they fall. But what if the days of your life were put into a colorful and easy to digest format -- like jelly beans?

Might we then see our time on earth as both vast and fleeting?

I just watched a fascinating video on ashow.zfrank.com called "The Time You Have (In JellyBeans)".

In it, the dry statistics from the Bureau of Labor's Time Use Survey was represented by the colorful candy.

The video starts with 28,835 jelly beans, representing one candy for each day of the average American's life span, or 79 years. This huge pile of beans somehow gets whittled away pretty quickly. 8,477 beans are deducted for sleep; 3,202 beans are subtracted for work; and 2,676 candies are taken away for watching television (over seven years, by the way).

Take more beans away for eating, grooming, household chores, and commuting and you're left with a much smaller pile of sugary bits. That's what remains for laughing, reading, making art, learning the guitar, and everything else you ever wanted to do with your life -- but didn't find the time.

Finally, only one sunny yellow bean is left, along with the question, "What if you had just one more day? What are you going to do today?"

What are you going to do today? That's something to chew on.

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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