As students, life feels really long. We spend four years in high school and then another four years in college. Trust me, I’m there. It feels like a long time.

To then imagine the next step—spending the next forty years in a career—is almost beyond comprehension.

The future seems so lengthy. That is, until you break it down. (Fair warning, this next section will break your brain.)

Instead of looking at life from the front end, let’s look backwards, and break your life into weeks. As we do so, let’s be generous, and assume you’ll live to be 90.

Some quick math here:

90 Years x 52 Weeks = 4,680 Weeks

Your whole life—assuming you live to 90—is only 4,680 weeks. That means, every week, you've spent more than 1/5000th of your life.

Does that make you rethink how you’ve spent this past week?

And, if your head isn’t hurting yet, this next number might change that.

Let’s assume your parents, like you, live to be 90. And, further, let’s assume you’ll spend 10 days per year with them after you leave home. Both figures seem reasonable, right?

If so, that means by the time you graduate high school and leave home, you’ve already spent over 90% of your in-person parent time. In other words, you have less than 10% of your time with them left.

Do you want to give them a hug now?

The truth is, we could keep breaking lifespans down in this manner forever. If you want to, feel free. But don’t miss the simple takeaway:

Life feels long; it isn’t.

Now go hug someone you love and use your time intentionally.


Note: If you’re into this kind of thing—or still grappling with this idea—please check out Wait But Why’s The Tail End. It further develops the concept, provides more examples, and has some pretty entertaining graphics. Start reading it once and you’ll find you come back to it over and over again.