Newsletter December 2011


Home Up


On the ham radio scene, sometimes you find some home-spun philosophy about time management that is worth sharing. While on the radio one Saturday morning, an older sounding chap, with a tremendous signal and a golden voice shared his story about the “thousand marbles” style of managing his life.

He said, "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.”

“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. 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 Saturdays 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 focused 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 and 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 signed off. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about.

I liked this man’s perspective of appreciating the moments he has left by watching them disappear. (I had another friend who bought M & M chocolate candy and ate one each week to watch his time disappear. Eating a piece of candy is more fun than throwing away a marble, but the concept is the same.)

The lesson the older man wanted to teach about time is to appreciate it, value it, use it wisely and sometimes watch it disappear. When you have a tangible reminder of the days or weeks of life passing by, the visual hint convinces you to intelligently use the gift of time allotted to you. If visual reminders help you, this might be a different way for you to think about time and the days of your life and your Saturdays. So buy some marbles or candy and enjoy the journey.


Thank you for sharing some time with me today.