Two categories of people exist on Earth. Let’s label them A and B. As believe firmly from all indications they have enough time on Earth. Some As give little to absolute zero fucks about tomorrow and pass jokes: judgement day and rapture is a social construct. Fair enough. Bs, on the other hand, believe they are running out of time and thus every tick-tock is a defining moment in their lives. A race against time.
Belonging to the As is that little cute princess who had a grand party thrown for her 8th birthday yesterday. When she closes her eyes, she could project into the future and count several happy moments like these. Moments she eagerly looks forward to. Moments that may never end.
Belonging to the other side of the spectrum- the Bs, is the man with end-stage kidney disease on dialysis gasping for air and that woman with tears in her eyes after being told her breast cancer has spread. Making the cut is that guy with a rope around his neck with voices in his head, having to make that crucial decision if a push to the chair beneath will truly end it all.
Interestingly, these categories of people see the world differently and are both somewhat right in their judgement and perspective on how the world turns out for them.
Then there is you reading this- who could belong to one of these categories. Do you believe there is so much time or little time left for you? Can your label change in a split second? What if just one question can make you appreciate the world of the As while living life through the perspective of Bs.
That question is this: how many tomorrows you got?
HOW MUCH TIME DO WE REALLY HAVE?
Globally, the average life expectancy is 71 years. As of 2019, the life expectancy of the average Ghanaian clocks at 63.9 years. Compare that to someone in the US, whose average life expectancy is 78.87 years. A difference of 14 years tops is a big difference, isn’t it? What this means is that, if you are Ghanaian, you basically have 23,360 days to live on the average.
Now, you spend roughly the first 20 years of your life under your parent’s wings. They basically call the shots and make all the important decisions in your life. Assuming you are 20 which I doubt you are, that leaves you with an average of 43.9 years to think, mature and make important decisions on your own. Let’s make this more matter of fact: subtract your current age from the average life expectancy in your country.
A TIMELY BREAKDOWN OF OUR LIVES
According to a study done on sleep, the average person sleeps 8 hours a day. If there are 24 hours in a day, that’s 1/3 of it. This means you are likely to spend 1/3 of your whole life lying in bed snoring. That is a staggering 7787 days(21 years of sleep in total). Fucking hell! Are you thinking what I’m thinking right now? Find 1/3 of the number of years you have left(life expectancy-current age), and you will have the number of years you have left being active. Not much huh?
Got a Netflix subscription and like to binge watch tv shows? According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American watched TV for 2.8 hours per day. That means an average person will watch over 9 years worth of TV, or around 80,486 hours. To put that into perspective, you can watch all of the Friends episodes over 838 times.
Things get worse in this technological era. In 2018, the average time spent on social media was projected at 144 minutes per day. Roughly 2.3 hours a day. If you are a heavy user, your stat goes even higher. How much time are you spending on your phone?
Work is a big part of our lives and our biggest source of income. But how much time do we actually spend working? Per the Ghanaian Labour Laws, maximum working hours in a day is set at 8 hours or 40 hours a week. From age 20 to 65 when you retire, say you are entitled to 15 days(2 weeks of vacation), you would have worked a total of 90,360 hours (10 years of your life).
WHAT ALL THIS FUSS MEANS
Put all these together, and you are literally spending another one-third of your life on entertainment, relaxing, watching TV, thinking about sex, having sex, going to the bathroom, taking a shit, commuting to and from work, thinking about what others think of you etc.
Now that is 2/3 of your whole life spent sleeping and engaging in other activities. Don’t forget 20 years of your life is gone under the wings of your parents. Crunch these numbers and you have roughly 10-14 untapped years left to really live. Think about it again, do you really think you have time?
NOTHING IS A GIVEN
The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.Eminem
The tragedy of life is such that it is full of uncertainties. In the famous singer’s voice, “nothing I have is truly mine”. This could mean you could make it past the average life expectancy or you would not.
Close your eyes and think about all the people whose sudden demise left a deep stab in your heart. Was it that close relative? Mom, dad, best friend, uncle, auntie or your favourite dog?
That wasn’t what your local pastor said right? In fact, Jesus loved them the same way he loves you reading this. Maybe more. What is the difference? Some people call it grace others call it luck. Whatever it is for you, just know, you aren’t that special. Tragedy could befall us all no matter how much we don’t wish it. In reality, we aren’t immune to misfortune.
You are one terrible decision from not making it past the average life expectancy. You could be at the wrong place at the right time. Falling in love with the wrong person, the possibilities are endless. In hindsight, these choices look the best.
HOW MANY TOMORROWS WE GOT?
Do we really have enough time on Earth? The answer to that question is yes and no. Time really flies. It’s incredible almost a decade has passed since celebrating my 18th birthday. I could swear it feels like yesterday. Between then and now, I personally have many regrets and have a tall list of many things I wish I did back then. However, now, I am wise enough to know there are many people like me who never got the chance to right their wrongs, undo many things and start afresh.
Chances are, just like you, I believe I have enough time to give my failed dreams another shot. Love those who mean a lot to me. Understand what friendship means and cut off negative and toxic people. Be humble enough to learn from my mistakes, overcome my one-minute man, get regular medical check-ups, learn to save, learn to laugh at myself, cry a bit and understand bad days happen and they never last. I have enough time to develop a tough mentality to look right in the face of rejection and say, “fuck it, I will try again”.
While at this, may you and I never forget nothing is a given. You may never have the opportunity to learn all these if you keep thinking you have enough time on your hands. If it has to be done, it must be done now.
Don’t be like the guy lying in his death bed, thinking of all the things that could have been if only he took a step into uncertainty. Make your life a masterpiece.
Share your thoughts and don’t forget to share. Cheers. DrC