When we’re young we believe we have infinite time on this Earth. As we age, we find ourselves consumed with responsibilities, each compounding the next, leaving little time for the grandiose dreams we may have held as children. We are all aware of how fleeting time actually is, and it’s the one thing we want more of, but don’t spend well. A lifetime can seem so long when it’s happening and we are going through the motions, but when all is said and done, have you spent it the way you intended? Time to put down the curling iron, throw your hair up in a bun, and learn to truly live life to the fullest.
The average American has a life expectancy of 78.6 years. I recently turned thirty and it hit me that more than a third of my life has passed by. It made me stop and think, “What have I spent all these years doing?” Apparently the answer is deciding what to wear and driving through traffic. We’d all like to imagine we’ve spent our days doing exactly what we wanted, but really most of our lives are spent inside working. Many of the things we spend our time doing are necessary, but perhaps we can cut time out of one category to add it to another, like time spent laughing, or (ahem) in the bedroom. Take a look at the top things the average person spends their lifetime doing, and see if there’s any areas you can trim the fat to make way for more adventures.
14 Doing Your Hair – 1.5 Years
Even for someone who doesn't know any other hairstyles besides the "messy bun" I admit I take a long time doing my hair. The amount of time (and money) we spend on dying our hair in salons, curling it at home, and just generally burning it into submission, is ridiculous. If my hair looked gorgeous every single day, like I just walked off a Victoria's Secret Photoshoot then I'd have no problem spending a year and a half of my life on it. But it doesn't, so screw that, my "messy bun" look just became messier.
13 Watching T.V. – 9.1 Years
I'd like to say this doesn't apply to me because I don't have a television so I've just saved nine years of my life, but I Netflix binge watch like a champ. I can go days without leaving the comfort of my bed and computer screen, limiting my excursions to the kitchen and the bathroom. We spend nine years of our lives watching TV shows; hopefully not all of that consists of Survivor and The Biggest Loser. Is there such a thing as quality television anymore? At least something that justifies losing roughly an eighth of our lives. I don't know, Dexter and 30 Rock might be worth losing a few years over...
12 Driving – 4.3 Years
This number has to increase drastically if you live in Los Angeles. I feel like I spent four years driving just in 2016 alone, and it's only May. I know quite a few people who are able to ride a bike to work in just 15 minutes. Have they figured out the secret to life? Only work in a two mile radius of where you live and vice versa? With all that daily commute time saved, they've got more time to spend in the watching TV category. I'd never thought I'd say this but maybe it's time to ditch city life and head for the suburbs.
11 Cleaning – 1.1 Years
This statistic hurts my soul. A year of our lives is spent cleaning, but it’s not like we can really say, “Forget it” and live in total disgust. I don’t need to be able to eat off the floor, but I also don’t want to come home to find other critters eating off my floor. Life’s all about finding balance. Or maybe a maid. The interesting thing about this, is that men spend less than that, about nine months of their lives cleaning. Therefore, I say only clean when your significant other is and right there you’ve saved three months!
10 In The Bathroom – 1.5 Years
I’m sure you knew you spent a lot of time in the bathroom, but did you know you spend a year and a half in there, showering, grooming, and taking care of business? Women have a lot of primping options, so it’s easy to see how so much time can pass while we’re occupied in there. In case you were wondering, which I’m sure you were, 92 of those days are spent actually on the toilet. While women do spend more time in the bathroom, men spend more time actually sitting on the toilet, so at the end of the day, the sexes are pretty neck in neck when it comes to years lost here.
9 Surfing The Internet – 3.2 Years
Sadly, this number will do nothing but go up. We’re constantly working on technological improvements, in a world that functioned just fine without it. While I enjoy watching funny videos on the Internet as much as the next person, I also miss the days where people were eating their food, not posting pictures of it. This is something every person needs to figure out for themselves; how much time are we willing to shut other people out, and sit staring at computer screens? (Like I’m currently doing). Yes, the Internet has made life easier, but at what cost? By taking away years of our life in return?
8 Being Intimate – 48 Days
Sure, maybe in some parallel universe that seems like a decent amount when each encounter is added up and combined with the next. Let’s take a moment to put this in perspective. You spend more time doing your hair. You spend more time deciding what to wear than how much time spent taking it off. You spend more time sitting on the toilet, for crying out loud! If that’s not depressing I don’t know what is, no wonder the world is so grumpy and stressed out! The average sexual encounter lasts 12 minutes. C’mon fellas, it’s a marathon, not a race. Let’s get it together.
7 Deciding What To Wear – 1 Year
This gives the word “decisive” a whole new meaning. I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of overthinking an outfit, and when I finally settle on something, it’s usually pretty simple. Ladies, let’s get it done. We lose an entire year of our lives trying to figure out what makes our figure the most flattering. Screw it and put on sweatpants, problem solved. That way when you do want to get all fancy, you look amazing, comparatively speaking, and will cut that decision making time in half. I’d rather spend that year living my life, than deciding how I’m going to look in it.
6 Being Indoors – 71 Years
Being a sun person, reading this shocked me. We spend approximately 90% of our lives indoors doing whatever it is we do; working, cleaning, etc. No wonder we’ve become an angst filled, depressing society. Human beings are meant to have sun on their skin and saltwater in their hair (at least I’d like to think so). I spend quite a bit of my time outside but after reading this, I’m determined to find more outdoor activities. Cancel that gym membership and go for a run outside. Get that vitamin D the old natural way and you’re guaranteed to feel better.
5 Kissing – 14 days
Now here’s an area that we could build up. With all the crazy stresses that life has to offer, why not make some room for a little more fun? We can spend 92 days on the toilet, but only 14 of them kissing? That seems very depressing. Not to mention the fact, the older we get, the less we kiss. As adolescents we can’t get enough, but as we age kissing becomes a quick thing we do before running out the door for work. Ask any adult, there is very little kissing leading up to the deed between a couple who has been married for awhile. We just seem to bypass that step and get right into it. Slow down for the good stuff, some things are worth taking your time with.
4 Working – 10.3 Years
We spend a little more than ten years of our lives slaving away. Unfortunately, this is a necessary evil. If we didn’t work, we wouldn’t survive. I’m okay with this number because I understand the necessity, but as a society we should work on things like vacation time, maternity leave, etc. In Europe most people get six weeks of vacation a year. Each year! As a result, as a whole, Europeans are more well traveled and knowledgable about the world. We can’t afford that and if we did we probably wouldn’t have a job to come home to! We should work, but we should make sure our job is working for us as well.
3 Dieting – 17 Years
In all honesty, this statistic makes me incredibly sad. Are we so obsessed with body image that we are willing to spend more time on watching what we eat, than literally everything else in our lives? We will never be able to conform to the unrealistic expectation of beauty that society holds (even the models are photoshopped) so screw it and eat pizza. Food is amazing, it’s meant to be enjoyed! If we didn’t spend 90% of our lives indoors, I don’t think we’d be so concerned with dieting in the first place. We have become a very sedentary group of people that need to implement just a few changes to literally change our lives.
2 Eating – 3.7 Years
Even though we spend 17 years thinking about what we are going to eat, or what we should be eating, we only spend 3.7 of our lifetime actually eating. I love eating. To me, it symbolizes time with family and friends. When I think back of my memories of “eating” it’s usually something like a Thanksgiving dinner, or a goodbye meal at a hostel with newfound friends. I’d like to take more time to enjoy a meal, rather than shoveling it in my face so I can get back to work. Life is full of pleasures but we have become experts at diminishing pleasures into necessities. Sure, we have to eat to stay alive, but meals are meant to be enjoyed.
1 Sleeping – 25 Years
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, we all know how grumpy we can become if we get less than eight hours of sleep a night. We spend a third of our life letting our body grow and recuperate and know the consequences of pulling an all nighter. With all the advances in technology, will there ever come a day that the mad scientists figure out how to bypass sleep? That would give the average person an extra 25 years of life. If that ever happens, I hope that generation of humans uses it wisely and not as extra Internet surfing time.