Often, we toss numbers around, without really comprehending the fascination of it all. For example, $1 Million is often stated as a amount of money accumulated in which you can officially retire. “Got a Million dollars? Retire today!” says the commercial advertisement. (The Financial Advisor in me gasps at this statistic. The amount of money needed to retire has nothing to do with an amount; rather a well defined financial plan.)
What about a Billion? “Ooooh, she’s a Billionaire!” the awestruck person proclaims. She built a Billion dollar brand and her business empire and has achieved an elite status. For point of reference, a Billion is one thousand Million. Astounding, isn’t it?
What about a Trillion? President Trump dumped a couple Trillion on the economy back when COVID hit. Another Trillion before he left office. President Biden is proposing a $3.5 Trillion spending bill. Seems like a lot of money, but I doubt we really grasp it. For reference, a Trillion is one thousand Billion. Wow, just wow.
We often use these words when talking about money. But, money isn’t the only thing that ‘illions’ can count. A local manufacturer recently celebrated making its 200 millionth tire, for example. What about cells? Did you know the human body is made of of several Trillion cells? How about time? Ever wonder how much time elapses at each of these stages?
How long is a Million seconds? When I was first asked this question, I really didn’t know where to start. I know there’s 60 seconds in a minute. 60 minutes in an hour. 24 hours in a day. Short of whipping out my iPhone and asking Siri, my brain couldn’t quite fathom the calculation. I embarrassingly surmised, “Ummm, I don’t know, a year? A million seconds? Dunno. Like, a really long time…right?”
A Million seconds is 12 days.
How long is a Billion seconds? Well, I figured if the Million seconds question ended shorter than I had thought…only 12 days…surely a Billion seconds would be shorter than I imagined also. “Ummm, let’s say 2 years.” Assuming I had overestimated, the answer arrived.
A Billion seconds is 32 years.
How long is a Trillion seconds? Now I’m onto it. So, Million was shorter than I thought. A Billion was longer. So I’m going to guess Trillion on the longer side. “I’m gonna go with 100 years. Surely I’m in the ballpark.”
A Trillion seconds is 32,000 years.
Is it just me? Or are we often caught up in what’s next. What’s the next thing, the next goal, the next fun event, the next house, the next car, the next job. What’s ahead that’ll make things better than where we are right now? What new focus of energy can I get my mind around that will take me out of this moment, and create excitement for something new and different and better in the near or distant future?
But, what about now? What about this moment? What about this? This? This…
In 12 days, a Million seconds of our lives will extinguish. Gone. Never retrieved. Time, an unrenewable resource.
Today matters. This moment. This time. This story. Each moment, building upon the last.
Time. Fleeting. Never stopping. Each second passing. Each moment, a gift.
How will you spend your time? Your next Million seconds? We’re not guaranteed the next 12 days, let alone tomorrow. Live for today. Live with purpose. Live for this moment.