A Thousand Marbles

      13 Comments on A Thousand Marbles

The older I get, the more I enjoy Saturday mornings. Perhaps it’s the quiet solitude that comes with being the first to rise, or maybe it’s the unbounded joy of not having to be at work. Either way, the first few hours of a Saturday morning are most enjoyable.

A few weeks ago, what began as a typical Saturday morning turned into one of those lessons that life seems to hand you from time to time. Let me tell you about it.

I turned the volume up on my radio, and I heard an older sounding chap with a golden voice. You know the kind, he sounded like he should be in the broadcasting business himself. He was talking about “a thousand marbles” to someone named “Tom”.

I was intrigued and sat down to listen to what he had to say.

Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you’re busy with your job. I’m sure they pay you well but it’s a shame you have to be away from home and your family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work sixty or seventy hours a week to make ends meet.

Let me tell you something Tom, something that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities. “And that’s when he began to explain his theory of “a thousand marbles.

You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average  person lives about 75 years. I know, some live more and some live less but on average, folks live about 75 years.

Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime.

It took me until I was fifty-five years old to think about all this in  any detail”, he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over twenty-eight hundred 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 with 1000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large clear plastic container next to the radio. 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 is nothing like watching your time here on this earth run out to help get your priorities straight.

Now let me tell you one last thing before I sign-off with you and take my lovely wife out for breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble out of the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday then I have been given a little extra time. And the one thing we can all use is a little more time.

It was nice to talk to you Tom, I hope you spend more time with your loved ones, and I hope to meet you again someday.

Have a good morning!

You could have heard a pin drop when he finished. Even the show’s moderator didn’t have anything to say for a few moments. I guess he gave us all a lot to think about. I had planned to do some work that morning, then go to the gym. Instead, I went upstairs and woke my wife up with a kiss. “C’mon honey, I’m taking you and the kids to breakfast.

What brought this on?” she asked with a smile. “Oh, nothing special, it’s just been a long time since we spent a Saturday together with the kids. Hey, can we stop at a toy store while we’re out? I need to buy some marbles.

Author Unknown


You may have heard/ read this story before. If you, like me,  still don’t have a jar of marbles on your work table, you needed to read this again. Just a reminder… the kind that we all need. I know I did. 🙂

13 thoughts on “A Thousand Marbles

    1. Serenely Rapt Post author


      You are young enough to afford being off-hand about it. For me though, the clock is running out… and there is too much life left to live. 😀


  1. Square-Peg Karen

    Oh, oh, oh, oh, OH! Dagny!!! The core of this is something I always treasured about working with people in grief (and in the grief experiences in my own life): the reminder of how precious each day is.

    This marble theory (grin) is a huge tool in a self-care tool-box! Thank you so much for the reminder.

    1. Serenely Rapt Post author


      It was such an important reminder to me too. And I am going to actually buy the marbles… enough is enough. 😀


  2. bharathi

    Some weird idea of collecting marbles in a jar and throwing one away every Saturday!! 🙁
    Will I do it? Nope!! Not on your Nellie!!
    It is like counting your steps to the grave!
    Ok, you have marbles in a jar and throw one every Saturday and someday when you have only 2 marbles left in the jar.. meaning that you have only 2 more Saturdays to live, how would you feel!?
    I am freakin’ out ‘ere over this marble counting thingyy!!
    Whoever has come out with this weird idea should have his head examined! grr

    wishing you 3600 times 2 marbles in your Jar Dagny!!! 😀
    love and regds .always

    1. Serenely Rapt Post author


      And why is that such bad idea- counting your steps to the grave..? The closer you get, the more attention you pay to the universe around you. You absorb the colors, you immerse yourself in the fragrances, you drown yourself in the music, you lose yourself in experiences. Don’t they say- Life isn’t about how many days you had in your life, but about how life you had in your days..!

      Yogic principles are based on ‘PRAN’… the breath. According to yoga, we are allotted a fixed number of breaths… which is the time allowed to us on earth. The complete cycle of inhalation and exhalation (one breath) is the unit of time by which our days on earth are measured. To live longer, therefore, yoga recommends that you learn to breath deeply and long.

      Again, this too is a way of pouring more life (pran) into your life.

      To see the end ahead is not to be morbid… on the contrary. It breeds an attitude of gratitude, it teaches you humility and alters your narrow perception. I don’t think of this as bad AT ALL.

      Think about it.. 😀

      Love and hugs,

  3. Maripat/Luna Doyle Oberg

    Lovely story!! It’s better to use one’s marbles than to lose one’s marbles! Mindful use of each day to the fullest. I LOVE it!

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story! I try to use my marble every day!

    Much love to you from me! xoxo

    1. Serenely Rapt Post author


      So pleased to see you here..! It is a lovely story indeed. Oh, to be fully used up..! 😀

      Lots of love xoxo,

  4. bharathi

    Instead of counting and throwing away marbles, I would rather use my good sense to go about living my life to the fullest, using every minute given wisely and making it more meaningful and worth living. So when looking back from old age upon the past and how I lived my life, I will be happy and content that I lived my life the way I wanted to live it. There wouldn’t be any regret of wrong decisions whatsoever of my past and that i threw those marbles away in vain when the world out there was beautiful, open and sunny for me. I strongly believe that you don’t have to count the number of days left to live when your life is going in full throttle in the right direction. 🙂
    you and I l have to die someday . when it comes it comes anyway, could be tomorrow or two days after or even after 75 Saturdays. Who knows!! 🙁 Does it matter whether we are sitting or standing when it comes?
    World is beautiful out there and we have so much going for us, if not make them going for us 😀 😀 .. and be happy.
    As someone said earlier in his comment, I would rather prefer playing with marbles with my brother to collecting them in a jar and throwing one away on weekly basis! Waiiiiste na!

    People start thinking more often of dying as they grow older when they still have years ahead to enjoy life. Some even keep the ashes of loved ones with them and not willing to scatter or give them a decent burial. “one foot in the grave”, a comedy tv serial that I watched on british Tv when I was there a few yrs back. It’s about an old couple living alone. The old lady kept a jar containing the ashes of her mother in the kitchen cupboard, and her husband mistook the jar for coffee, made a cuppa and drank it. 😉 When his wife told him it was not coffee power he used but the ashes of his MIL he just had, he was like tight slapped by a ghost! Great show that was! 😀
    Oh, I love your yoga tips Dagny! I am a yoga aficionado!
    Love and hugs..always

    Ps: I fully understand what you say in the comment and the deep meaning behind the story and your comment. I too have to say something to it. Haven’t I ? so there!! 🙂 🙂

    1. Serenely Rapt Post author


      I don’t know why the thought of death is so upsetting to you. The diminishing marbles are not being used as an exercise in morbidity. There is certainly no aspect of macabre fascination with the thought of one’s own ‘ceasing’ to exist. They are meant only to serve as a reminder… to help you correct your course if you find yourself drifting. Tell me, a lighthouse serves to warn sailors to steer clear of treacherous rocks. Yet, it is a beam of inviting light. Would I ever think it is a beacon pulling me to certain death..?

      Symbols will mean what YOU want them to mean. To me a diminishing jar of marbles is a reminder to live some more… to let petty things remain inconsequential… to hold on fast to what’s important.

      I am certainly not for ‘holding on’ to the past. The past serves a purpose and must be allowed to drift away once its purpose has been served. 🙂

      I guess you’ll catch all the marbles I throw out so you can play with them. That way there will b no wastage… 😀

      Love and hugs,

  5. bharathi

    The marbles you throw at me don’t look like “MARBLES” but hard rapping on my head with your knuckles! 😀 😀
    loads of love…always and take care! 🙂

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