Don’t Lose Your Marbles

Jar of Marbles by DazT

I’ve always loved Saturdays. As a kid, it meant Pop was home all day, and he’d make waffles, pancakes, or muffins for breakfast. It meant cartoons, visiting my grandparents’ house, no school work.

As a teen, Saturdays took on the meaning of movie night, time with friends, no school work.

As an adult, I reverted to some of my favorite childhood activities: cartoons in the morning and painting shows in the afternoon. Saturdays meant no “real work,” a day when I could paint and be creative.

Now, Saturdays once again mean no “real work.” I’ve set them aside as a day of relaxation and renewal, leaving myself free to draw, write, or play to my heart’s content.

But not too long ago, I lost sight of Saturday. While editing our new novel, writing became work. The freelance graphic design I couldn’t complete during the week spilled over to my weekend, and art became work. Days blended together. I got stuff done, but I didn’t take time to enjoy Saturday…to enjoy life.

A precious jewel of a day

Something else I’ve always loved are marbles. When I was a kid, I thought those swirling, multicolored glass orbs were every bit as beautiful as precious stones. Unfortunately, most of mine came from the same set, all similar shades of drab green and yellow. Very boring. But every so often, I’d come into possession of one that was larger or smaller or more colorful than the ordinary marble. To me, that was a real treasure.

In the book Charging the Human Battery, there’s a story in which the author likens Saturdays to marbles:

I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about 75 years…I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime…

It took me until I was 55 years old to think about all this in any detail, and by that time I had lived through over 2,800 Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be 75, I only had about a thousand of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container…

Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on the really important things in life.

There’s nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight. ~ From Charging the Human Battery by Mac Anderson

When I let “real work” take over my life, the days become like those old green marbles: all the same size, shape, and color. If I really wanted rainbows of glass when I was a kid, I could have made the extra effort to go out and buy them. But it was easier to just complain a little about my lot in life and enjoy the few bits of beauty that I got my hands on. Much the same way, it’s easier to let work take over the weekends, rather than go out of my way to plan, schedule, and enjoy re-creation time.

Our days of life are precious and brief. Letting a Saturday pass by unnoticed is like dropping a jewel into the trash.

I can’t salvage the ones I’ve missed, but I can surely treasure what’s left. I won’t put a finite number on them—as far as I’m concerned, the only limit on human life is 120 years. But I intend to fill a vase with gorgeous, unique marbles, and keep it close by…to remind me.

So. What are you doing next Saturday?

“Jar of Marbles” photo by DazT

One Response to “Don’t Lose Your Marbles”

  1. I taught my nephews how to play “marbles” using my childhood marbles.
    My mother kept two marble, in a old coffee grinder, from a great-grand father; I think they were made of stone.

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