Skip to comments.Life's short...something to think about.
Posted on 12/31/2002 5:06:34 AM PST by Sungirl
The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it's the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it's the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.
A few weeks ago, I was shuffling toward the basement ham-shack with a steaming cup of coffee in one hand and the morning paper in the other.
What began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it.
I turned the dial up into the phone portion of the band on my ham radio in order to listen to a Saturday morning swap net. Along the way, I came across an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice.
You know the kind; he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business. He was telling whomever he was talking with something about "a thousand marbles." I was intrigued and stopped to listen to what he had to say.
"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with your job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet. Too bad you missed your daughter's dance recital he continued." "Let me tell you something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities."
And that's when he began to explain his theory of a "thousand marbles."
"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about seventy-five years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, folks live about seventy-five years."
"Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime."
"Now, stick with me, Tom, I'm getting to the important part. It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in any detail", he went on, "and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred Saturdays.
I got to thinking that if I lived to be seventy-five, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container right here in the shack next to my gear."
"Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away.
I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focus more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight."
"Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure that if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time."
"It was nice to meet you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your family, and I hope to meet you again here on the band.
This is a 75 Year old Man, K9NZQ, clear and going QRT, good morning!" You could have heard a pin drop on the band when this fellow singed off.
I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to work on the antenna that morning, and then I was going to meet up with a few hams to work on the next club newsletter. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. "C'mon honey, I'm taking you and the kids to breakfast."
"What brought this on?" she asked with a smile. "Oh, nothing special, it's just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. And hey, can we stop at a toy store while we're out? I need to buy some marbles...
A friend sent this to me, so I to you, my friend. And so, as one smart bear once said...
"If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you." - Winnie the Pooh.
"Is that right?"
"Yup. But almost nobody makes it to 40,000."
"Why is that?"
"Because 40,000 days is 109 and a quarter years."
He died at 89.
Beautifully said, you learned an important life lesson tragically - most of us slowly come to realize this after we loved and lost family, friends - but later in life than you did.
When my husband was 25 he lost his father suddenly, and I always was happy I didn't complain when he wanted to stop by and 'see him' the night beforen he died...which turned out to be the last time he'd ever see him alive. They had a nice visit, and his dad said some nice things to him, as he alwayd did, but they took on extra meaning when he was gone the very next morning.
Thats a lesson I learned early in life, and I have always tried to find the patience and time to make that 'visit', phone call or extra effort etc...because you do never know what the next day will bring.
SG: This email was very nice to read on New Years Eve, thanks for posting it!
Add the time you spend sleeping, the time spent at work, and the time you spend shopping and running around from here to there, and the time you spend cleaning and grooming your home, your car, and yourself, and the time you spend paying the bills, and on the telephone, and ON THE COMPUTER?
Add all this time up and subtract it from 24 and you begin to see just how precious little time we really do have. - What do you do with this precious time?
I like old Sandburg but like most poets he lived in another world. When you're raising four kids and an ex-wife your choices are sometimes limited. I am getting to a better appreciation of what is important and what is not. The only problem is that by the time that I get it right I will die of something and it won't have mattered. C'est la mort.
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