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  • Emily Macpherson

The Countdown

It is hard to believe it will soon be 2016, this year has flown by quicker than ever and I haven’t got around to updating this blog as frequently as I had hoped. This got me thinking about a book I read earlier in the year, Life in Half a Second by Matthew Michalewicz.

Here is an extract from the first chapter of the book which you can download at

Planet Earth is four-and-a-half billion years old. The species you and I belong to, Homo sapiens, did not emerge until some 200,000 years ago. The oldest known fossils of modern humans are only 160,000 years old, discovered in Herto, Ethiopia. So out of the four-and-a-half billion years that this planet has been floating through the nothingness of space, we’ve been around some .0044% of that time. Put another way, if our planet was exactly one year old, then modern humans would have only been around for the last 23 minutes. Measured on the same scale, if our planet was a year old, then your entire life would amount to half a second.

In planet-time, that’s all you have: half a second. We don’t appreciate this as kids. Time seems unlimited and goes by ever so slowly. We’re impatient to grow up, become adults, and enter the real world. We imagine all the freedom we’ll have, all the things we’ll get to do. But when adulthood finally arrives, we discover that we’ll be spending the vast majority of our “freedom” at work, paying bills, surviving, often in jobs we don’t like or don’t care about. Life is not how we imagined it and disillusionment sets in. We spend our half second doing everything except what we really want, dreaming of the future, of some distant, faraway day when life will be different, better, when we can finally do the things we want. But as we grow older, time begins moving faster and faster, and our long-awaited day never seems to come.

The tragedy of life isn’t that we only have half a second. The tragedy is that we waste it.

I for one intend to live for the now as well as planning for the future. More anon!

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