Originally published by Robert Beisert at fortcollinsprogram.robert-beisert.com

There’s No Such Thing as “Spare Time”

You have about seventy years on this earth, barring disease or accident. Of that time, you will spend about 1/3 of that time asleep, so you really only get 47 years or so. That’s only about 17,167 days, total, for you to use.

Now, suppose you’re twenty years old right now. You’re seven-thousand days old, and you’re down to about 12,000 remaining useful days.

Twelve. Thousand. Days.

When you piss away a day playing video games (as I’m wont to do), you lose one of those precious days. There’s no real way to earn another one – it’s gone forever. You’ll never get it back.

Now, don’t get me wrong; there’s value to rest and relaxation. Nobody can spend all day every day working. As an engineer, I spend hours every weekday taxing my brain, and I need to do something that is less strenuous to unwind and prepare for the next day’s sprint. However, there’s a point where I’ve really relaxed enough, but I keep on relaxing because it’s fun. Again, nothing inherently wrong with that.

However, when I allow myself to think of those empty hours in my day as “spare time,” I defeat myself. It’s free from plans and obligations, true, but that just means I can still choose how to spend those hours. Whether I choose to use those hours to practice music, work on a project, write, or watch “Moulin Rouge” for the five-hundredth time, it’s my choice to make. I will have to live with the consequences of spending that time unwisely, if that is my choice.

A “spare” is unnecessary and, often enough, unwanted thing. My time is not an unnecessary thing, because when it’s gone I can do no more on this earth. And my time is certainly not unwanted, because while there is life in my body I can still do something of value. To call it “spare” time is to cheapen my most precious resource in my mind, and it implies that I’ve still got plenty left over.

Memento Mori.

The Roman Legion carried this phrase through their service. Translated, it reads, “Remember that you WILL die.” Death comes for the poor and the rich, the cruel and the kind, the wise and the fool. Whether it comes for you tomorrow or fifty years from now, it does come.

Your days are numbered.

Your clock is always running out.

Consider carefully how you want to spend these last hours on the earth (even if you still have thousands of days left).

They’re the only days you will ever get.