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“I suppose real old age begins when one looks backward rather than forward.”
– May Sarton


Last week I celebrated my 59th birthday. As I grow older, and after a number of decades on this planet, I experience daily reminders that I am now traveling down the other side of the mountain. (But hopefully not too quickly!) It was with this thought in mind that I began my “marble initiative”.

Specifically, five years ago I purchased 100 rather brightly coloured marbles, each one reflecting the number of years I plan to live. I’ve always been an optimist at heart and figured 100 years had a nice ring to it. So, on October 20th of each year, I simply transfer a marble from one Mason jar to the other. I find this a useful and very visual metaphor which gives me no choice but to focus on the fact that my remaining time is limited. Specifically, I can’t help but notice that one jar (years left) is shrinking faster compared to the other jar (years lived). But of course, this is the entire point of the exercise.

I’m also finding, especially now during this pandemic, that my two jars of marbles are a constant reminder of life’s temporary nature and, more importantly … to try and not take for granted those precious years that I have left.