“5 minutes” = 300 seconds = 1/20th of an hour = 1/480th of a day = 1/175,200th of a year.
It’s crazy how little an amount of time a “5 minute” span is, as proven by the above formula. We have 20 of these spans (let’s refer to them as “quintets”) every hour, regardless of the time of day. In the morning, for instance, we spend several quintets getting ready for school/work, one making coffee, one quintet walking to the car, one boosting up our computers, two or three drinking our coffees, three or four checking email, and probably too many quintets doing not much of anything at all. We think nothing of spending two or three quintets letting our minds wander while jamming out to the afternoon tunes in our cubicles. We think nothing of spending a handful more aimlessly surfing the internet at night.
It’s funny how we think of 5 minutes as a relatively meaningless amount of time because of its short length. If only we were to all cherish each quintet and the value it could bring to our lives and the lives of those we love. Why is it that we see 5 minutes on Facebook as no big deal, but we so often forget to take 5 minutes to write a thank you note or reconnect with an old friend or loved one?
I think of my grandfather as I propose this question.
My “Pepere” (French term for grandfather) is 87 years old. Pepere was one of twelve children, he was drafted at the age of 16 for WWII, he started his own business (a small-town family convenience store in Swansea, MA), and he has been an incredible husband, father, grandpa, and friend. I grew up playing cards with him, and he was always “my partner”. More on Pepere’s stories to come in later posts.
Our Memere (grandmother) passed away about four years ago. Since that time, Pepere has lived in a senior home in New Hampshire, where his spirits have been dependent upon visits and calls from family. I regret to say that I have only been able to see “my partner” on a very occasional basis over the past couple years (once or twice a year at most). I regret even more, however, that I haven’t called or sent letters more often (as I have much more control of this matter). While geographic distance may separate us physically, a phone call can transcend these locational bounds in seconds. A letter or package can do the same in 3 to 5 days.
Why is it that we find ourselves in these situations with friends, old classmates, or even the family members we care about most? Why is it that we don’t take just five minutes a day to send a package to Momma, write a thank-you card to a friend, or call Pepere? It’s crazy to think that we have almost 500 quintets in a day, and we often go full days and even weeks forgetting the people that truly matter.
So many of us are incredibly blessed to have such great family and friends in our lives. I challenge you to reconsider how you will spend your next 300 seconds after you finish reading this post. Close out FaceBook and your social media sites. Your email and coffee can wait. Takes 5 minutes to say “I love you” and make someone smile right NOW. I promise you won’t regret it for the next 175,199 quintets in your year.