Bad weeks don't seem so rough when you apply this perspective to life. Here's how.

Sometimes life seems really short, and other times it seems impossibly long. But this chart helps to emphasize that it’s most certainly finite.

This post was originally published on Wait But Why.

This is what a long human life looks like in years:


And here’s a human life in months:

But today, we’re going to look at a human life in weeks:

Each row of weeks makes up one year. That’s how many weeks it takes to turn a newborn into a 90-year-old. It kind of feels like our lives are made up of a countless number of weeks. But there they are — fully countable — staring you in the face.

Before we discuss things further, let’s look at how a typical American spends their weeks:

Sources: [1][2][3][4][5].

There are some other interesting ways to use the weeks chart, too:

"Current week" as of May 2014.

But how about your weeks?

Sometimes life seems really short, and other times it seems impossibly long. But this chart helps to emphasize that it’s most certainly finite. Those are your weeks, and they’re all you’ve got.

Given that fact, the only appropriate word to describe your weeks is precious. There are trillions upon trillions of weeks in eternity, and those are your tiny handful.

Going with the “precious” theme, let’s imagine that each of your weeks is a small gem, like a 2 mm, .05-carat diamond.

Here’s one:

.05 Carat Diamond

If you multiply the volume of a .05-carat diamond by the number of weeks in 90 years (4,680), it adds up to just under a tablespoon.

Spoonful of Diamonds

Looking at this spoon of diamonds, there’s one very clear question to ask: “Are you making the most of your weeks?”

In thinking about my own weeks and how I tend to use them, I decided that there are two good ways to use a diamond:

1) Enjoying the diamond.

2) Building something to make your future diamonds or the diamonds of others more enjoyable.

In other words, you have this small spoonful of diamonds and you really want to create a life in which they’re making you happy.

And if a diamond is not making you happy, it should only be because you’re using it to make other diamonds go down better — either your own in the future or those of others. In the ideal situation, you’re well-balanced between #1 and #2 and you’re often able to accomplish both simultaneously (like those times when you love your job).

Of course, if a diamond is enjoyable but by enjoying it you’re screwing your future diamonds (an Instant Gratification Monkey specialty), that’s not so good. Likewise, if you’re using diamond after diamond to build something for your future but it’s not making you happy and seems like a long-term thing with no end in sight, that’s not great either.

The worst possible way to use a diamond is by accomplishing neither #1 nor #2 above. Sometimes “neither” happens when you’re in either the wrong career or the wrong relationship, and it’s often a symptom of either a shortage of courage, self-discipline, or creativity. Sometimes “neither” happens because of a debilitating problem.

We’ve all had "Neither Weeks" and they don’t feel good.

When a long string of Neither Weeks happens, you become depressed, frustrated, hopeless, and a bunch of other upsetting adjectives. But it’s inevitable to have Neither Weeks, and sometimes they’re important — it’s often a really bad Neither Week that leads you to a life-changing epiphany.

It can all be summed up like this:

The Contents of Your Week

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Courtesy of Macy's

In many ways, 18-year-old Idaho native, Hank Cazier, is like any other teenager you've met. He loves chocolate, pop music, and playing games with his family. He has lofty dreams of modeling for a major clothing company one day. But one thing that sets him apart may also jeopardize his future is his recent battle against a brain tumor.

Cazier was diagnosed in 2015. When he had surgery to remove the tumor, he received trauma to his brain and lost some of his motor functionality. He's been in physical, occupational, and speech therapy ever since. The experience impacted Cazier's confidence and self-esteem, so he's been looking for a way to build himself back up again.

"I wanted to do something that helped me look forward to the future," he says.

Enter Make-A-Wish, a nonprofit organization that grants wishes for children battling critical illnesses, providing them a chance to make the impossible possible. The organization partnered with Macy's to raise awareness and help make those wishes a reality. The hope is that the "wish effect" will improve their quality of life and empower them with the strength they need to overcome these illnesses and look towards the future. That was a particularly big deal for Cazier, who had been feeling like so many of his wishes weren't going to be possible because of his critical illness.

"In the beginning, it was hard to accept that it would be improbable for me to accomplish my previous goals because my illness took away so many of my physical abilities," says Cazier. His wish of becoming a model also seemed out of reach.

But Macy's and Make-A-Wish didn't see it like that. Once they learned about Cazier's wish, they knew he had to make it come true by inviting him to be part of the magical Macy's holiday shoot in New York.

Courtesy of Macy's

Make-A-Wish can't fulfill children's wishes without the generosity of donors and partners like Macy's. In fact, since 2003, Macy's has given more than $122 million to Make-A-Wish and impacted the lives of more than 2.9 million people.

Cazier's wish experience was beyond what he could've imagined, and it filled him with so much joy and confidence. "It is like waking up and discovering that you have super powers. It feels amazing!" he exclaims.

One of the best parts about the day for him was the kindness everyone who helped make it happen showed him.

"The employees of Macy's and Make-A-Wish made me feel welcome, warm, and cared for," he says. "I am truly grateful that even though they were busy doing their jobs, they were able to show kindness and compassion towards me in all of the little details."

He also got to spend part of the shoot outdoors, which, as someone who loves climbing, hiking, and scuba-diving but has trouble doing those activities now, was very welcome.

Courtesy of Macy's

Overall, Cazier feels he grew a lot during his modeling wish and is now emboldened to work towards a better quality of life. "I want to acquire skills that help me continue to improve in these circumstances," he says.

You can change the lives of more kids like Cazier just by writing a letter to Santa and dropping it in the big red letterbox at Macy's (you can also write and submit one online). For every letter received before Dec. 24, 2019, Macy's will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1 million. By writing a letter to Santa, you can help a child replace fear with confidence, sadness with joy, and anxiety with hope.

Believe
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