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The Average Person Will Spend Months of Their Life Waiting for Red Lights to Turn Green

How much time do you have and how are you using it?

By Patty RamsenPublished 3 years ago 5 min read
The Average Person Will Spend Months of Their Life Waiting for Red Lights to Turn Green
Photo by Alex King on Unsplash

Everyday, you complete monotonous tasks. You wait at a light, a stop sign, for coffee to brew, sit on the toilet, brush your teeth, shower, sleep . . . precious minutes are lost and continue to mount into weeks and months of our lives. You also have those burdening questions in the back of your mind — How much time do you have left and how are you using it? This article will explore the truth of how you spend your lifetime. Sure, there are those of us who sleep as minimally as possible, which science has noted that lack of sleep will also shorten your lifespan and can create a number of health concerns. Those concerns will be addressed!

Most of us use our time on menial tasks, time slipping as you drive to and from work every morning and evening, as you idle in the pick up line for children at school, and the hundreds of other things that you wish we could be whisked away from.

Just like in the song "Seasons of Love," they sing “five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure, measure a year?”

How Are We Measuring Our Life?

On average, Americans live until the age of 79.8, which is an incredible leap as we advance healthcare and technology! You’re now making better health choices and have the opportunity to live a longer and more fulfilling life.

How can we make menial tasks into joyful moments? At the stop light, you can embody the idiom: stop and smell the roses.

As you’re waiting in the car at a red light, you can look at the birds happily hopping on the power lines, and the way the wind flutters the leaves and creates shadows on the ground, or pass the pedestrian and wonder about who they are and where they’re from. Everyday you get wrapped up in the trials and tribulations of life and forget to enjoy how beautiful life can be.

So now you’re telling yourself, okay, enough, how much time am I spending on these tasks?

Time Turner

It’s important to remember that everything discussed here is an average. It would be difficult to assess exactly how much time you spend on each task, unless you personally timed yourself on every individual thing and tried to calculate it.

American Daily Average:

  • You spend 6.31 hours on the internet a day
  • You spend 37 minutes cleaning and preparing for meals
  • You spend 4 hours working
  • You spend 3 hours watching television
  • You spend 1 hour eating
  • You spend 8.5 hours sleeping
  • You spend 25 minutes attending a class
  • You spend 10 minutes on religious activities

*A majority of these numbers were gathered from the 2019 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

American Lifetime Average:

  • You spent 6 months waiting for a red to turn green at a stoplight
  • You spent a third of your life sleeping
  • You spent 15,000 hours going to the bathroom
  • You spent 2,000 hours brushing your teeth
  • You spent 7,500 hours taking a shower
  • You spent a sixth of your life at work or 90,000 hours
  • You spent 184,000 hours on the internet
  • How much time do you spend on vacation and taking care of your needs?

    Don’t Short Yourself on Sleep

    Sleeping less than five hours a night can more than double your risk for cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is the second leading cause of death in the United states. It used to be number one, but it is now falling behind Breast Cancer. Lack of sleep can also cause you to gain weight, which could lead to obesity and diabetes. It weakens your immune system, causes high blood pressure, car accidents, mood changes, and memory issues. All of these health concerns would impact your quality of life.

    Studies show that when you sleep, you’re more likely to enjoy your time outside and with your family and friends. Irregular sleep can lead to mood changes, such as being moody, depressed, temperamental, and being quick-tempered.

    You can fulfill your life expectancy by receiving an adequate amount of sleep and receiving the rest you deserve. Follow another popular idiom: better late than never. It’s never too late to get your sleep back on track.

    Stop Wasting Time

    What else can you do during your red light stops? You can play games with your kids and talk to them about their day. You can have random dance parties until the light turns green. You can listen to audiobooks and NPR and discuss world politics. You can savor your cup of coffee and apply last minute lipstick or cologne. You can use your phone to search for the red plant you’ve been watching bloom for the past few months from your car. Waiting for redlights doesn’t need to be a waste — you can create good habits and savor the time spent traveling to do the things you’ve always enjoyed.

    Being on the internet may seem like “a waste of time.” But it’s also time spent learning how to cook or garden or play an instrument. It’s time spent video calling your great-grandmother during the pandemic and watching a movie long-distance with a friend.

    For so long, you’ve considered these activities to be a waste of time or time lost not doing something you “need” to do. But these activities make up the brunt of our lives. Live them. Enjoy them.

    AAA says that on average, Americans spend 58.6 minutes a year at a red light. If we were to live until the ripe age of 79.8, nearly 6.5 months of our lives would be spent at a red light! That’s assuming you’re driving the same amount at age 70, as you are at age 20. If you think of all the tasks you completed in the past year, which would you try to shorten and which ones would you long to draw out? Measure your activities, not your time.


    About the Creator

    Patty Ramsen

    Just another 20 something trying to break the glass ceiling one blazer at a time. Get your own coffee...

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