One of my favorite internet people, Merlin Mann, had an episode on his Back To Work program where he talked about the idea that you only get so many Saturdays in your life. Saturdays being the days that we usually use to do fun stuff, hobbies, cleaning, things that aren't work. I liked this idea a lot and it got stewing around in my head. Eventually I came up with the idea to visualize this concept of a limited number of Saturdays. To keep the visualization manageable I thought about tracking the number of Saturdays in 10 years. 10 years from now my wife and I be in just past our mid-forties and my kids will either be in college or just out (theoretically). Other than that, who knows?
So as a concrete project, I came up with storing 10 years worth of Saturdays as marbles in a jar. Every Saturday you move a marble into a different jar.
Step 1: Find Out How Many Saturdays There Are in 10 Years
I used WolframAlpha to figure out how many Saturdays there are in the next 10 years (taking into account the vagaries of the calendar) and came up with 521. I love the natural language capabilities of WolframAlpha, it can do a lot of very cool things.
Step 2: Buy Your Marbles
I found somebody selling 500 marbles on ebay for a good price (Which seems to only be possible on ebay. Bulk marbles sites are weirdly expensive.) and filled out the rest of them at the dollar store. I had my kids count the marbles and remove the broken ones to make sure we had exactly 521. Grouping the marbles is stacks of 10 was a lifesaver when dealing with distractable children.
Step 3: Find a Perfect Jar
We put all of the marbles in a container so I could figure out the size of the glass jar I'd need. I estimated the volume of the container, then went to Michaels and found basically the perfect jars which you can see in the picture.
Step 4: Assemble Everything
Carefully put all the marbles in one jar. Then every Saturday, move a marble to the next jar.
I really like the way this turned out with the cool square jars. I'm looking forward to seeing the one jar fill up. I think it'll help us be mindful of time passing and remind us to make good use of our Saturdays.
I'd love for this idea to appeal to somebody else so I can see how they do it. If you make something like this, please let me know! Thanks!