4,097 Weeks

4,097 weeks equals 78.79 years, or the average lifespan of an American (as of a 2019 report).

First of all, I know many people--including my 93 year old aunt, who defy that statistic.

Secondly, numbers do not tell the story of the fullness of life. You can die happily (although tragically) while skiing at 42 or live to 89 and be miserable until your last breath.

That said, this time of year can serve as a pause to reflect upon (and change) the way we live our years. And the way we live our years is the way we live the hours of our day.

The Japanese have a wise saying that goes: Life's fullness is experienced not by extending your years but by expanding the richness of the moments you live.

If you are on the wheel of "there is never enough time", perhaps this quote from Oliver Burkeman:

From an everyday standpoint, the fact that life is finite feels like a terrible insult… There you were, planning to live on forever… but now here comes mortality, to steal away the life that was rightfully yours.

Yet, on reflection, there’s something very entitled about this attitude. Why assume that an infinite supply of time is the default, and mortality the outrageous violation? 

Or to put it another way, why treat four thousand weeks as a very small number, because it’s so tiny compared with infinity, rather than treating it as a huge number, because it’s so many more weeks than if you had never been born? 

Surely only somebody who’d failed to notice how remarkable it is that anything is, in the first place, would take their own being as such a given — as if it were something they had every right to have conferred upon them, and never to have taken away. 

So maybe it’s not that you’ve been cheated out of an unlimited supply of time; maybe it’s almost incomprehensibly miraculous to have been granted any time at all.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

2:00-3:30 p.m.