Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes

With 2016 in full swing, it’s now time for another favorite thing of mine. Ladies and Gentlemen … it’s Calendar Time. Time to sit with a warm cup of coffee and reminisce. I thumb through my tattered 2015 calendar and take a close look at everything. I notice doctors appointments, lunch dates, planned treasured trips as well as the last-minute getaways. I take into account all the babies born and the people who are gone. Even though I know the outcomes all too well, I can’t help but recall how our football season played out from week to week. I see the weekends “The Stoutland Inn” was booked with friends and family and remember the day our daughter graduated high school as well as the date we became Empty-Nesters.

As my hands run over each date I recall one of my most favorite songs, titled  Seasons of Love. The song asks us how we measure our 525,600 minutes, which is equivalent to one year. “In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee? In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?” These words are imprinted on my heart because I use them as a guide for grading how I lived my last year. Did I reach out to everyone I love for their birthday? Did I make time for those I truly love or was I so busy doing “important” stuff? Did I take the time to appreciate a sunset or sit under a blanket of stars? Did I really make the most out of each one of those 525,600 minutes?

So I started calculating … yes, Allison Jo Stoutland did some math! Since it’s not exactly my strong suit I should forewarn that all the numbers that follow should be taken with several grains of salt. As it turns out there are just 1,440 minutes in a day of which I sleep away approximately 420. Oh, and let’s subtract 15 minutes for getting up to use the bathroom throughout the night. In the perfect world I use another 120 minutes commuting to the gym and exercising. I blog an average of 60 minutes a day. Minus 60 for a shower and another 40 walking sweet Cornell. Meal prep and eating only gobble up 75 minutes now that the kids are at college. I imagine I spend about 75 minutes on errands and another 90 minutes trying to figure out what I forgot I was doing or looking for! If my math is right, that means each day I live here on Earth there are approximately 500 minutes left to make matter. Precious minutes I can purposefully choose for good and not whittle away. Wow!

So … while actually crafting this blog it has become super apparent to me that this year I will fill up my 2016 calendar with not just birthdays, appointments and football games, but with the things I choose to do with my extra 500 minutes each day. I see this plan has all the makings of a resolution, which hardly ever bodes well for me, but I’m going to give it a go anyway. The worst that can happen is I don’t fill in every single day. Not so terrible, right?

Moral: Life may be more meaningful if we choose carefully how we spend those precious extra minutes.

A little thing I love: You might have gathered I take my calendar quite seriously. This harmless obsession began when I taught kindergarten. We started and finished each day gathered in a circle in front of our monthly calendar! We learned so much about life, weather, current events and important holidays. We celebrated our classmates birthdays and honored the birthdays of those who came so very long before us. Hence why my calendar is such a dear possession of mine. I use every writing utensil in our home to fill in each day. I color coordinate and highlight when necessary. And above all else--everyone in my home knows it is heavily frowned upon for anyone other than me to write on it.  Yes I know I have an issue--but it's not hurting anyone!