Can a Phone App Help You Treasure Your Time?
By Debi Simons (guest blogger)

Note from Debbie (Johnson): For some, time flies. For others, it drags. My friend, Debi Simon, talks about making time count.

If you were tasked with choosing an hour today and making it really count, how would you spend it?

Thanks, Debi, for the important reminder.

“May 22 of this year was a time of total chaos: moving day. Our lovely-but-too-large house had sold, and we had to have ourselves and our stuff out. We were supposed to be at the closing office by 2:00. Then we pushed it back to 2:30. We finally made it at 4:30, the very latest we could arrive. The day marked a big step in a process that had started the previous fall when my husband, son and I had sat down with my dear in-laws, Jim’s father and stepmother, and laid out our plan to remodel their lower level and move in with them. Or at least that had been the idea. In reality, my father-in-law had pre-empted the conversation. “I think this will be a great thing for us,” he said. “You’ll be doing us a favor and be able to help out around here.” We were blown away. Our list of reasons that we hoped would persuade them turned out to be totally unnecessary.

Perhaps we concentrated too much on what needed to be done over at the new place and not enough on clearing out the current one. Months of effort had been spent over at the in-laws’ house to make it habitable for us. The downstairs bathroom now had a working shower. There was a bed in the bedroom. The kitchen was still an empty room, though. The main living space still had 40+-year-old carpet on the floor, so we couldn’t move our furniture in yet. It was all sitting in moving pods, which had to be moved from our driveway to the in-laws’ driveway. We headed into months of more chaos, navigating through obstacle courses at every turn.

But I knew that this somewhat problematic beginning was the start of a whole new stage in our lives, and I was determined to be conscious of time’s passage. I knew that, realistically speaking, we had at most ten years in this new environment, given the ages of our in-laws. There would come a sad day when the house would be sold. You don’t usually think that way when you move into a new place, do you? Even if it’s a place where you know your time is short. I doubt very much that my son looked around the rather dumpy duplex where he moved this fall for grad school and thought, “I have limited time here. I have to make the most of it!” I’ve certainly never had that attitude about the many places I’ve lived. But somehow this one was different.

So what did I do? Why, what everyone does these days: I put an app on my phone, this one to mark the passage of time. I googled “how many seconds in ten years” and an app called “Countdown” came up. In the free version you can choose your time span and what units you want to be used. So I chose seconds. Right now I have a countdown going for the number of seconds until the end of our first year here and until the end of ten years. (I also had a countdown going this summer for our wonderful vacation trip, but unfortunately that phone got stolen, and so I never got to see the total go to zero.) I remind myself periodically to look at the totals, and I’m prodded to do that because I have the app on my phone’s home screen. Right now there are well over 14 million seconds left until next May 22 and over 298 million until May 22, 2027. Seems like a lot, doesn’t it? But every day the number is smaller.

No one lives consciously savoring every single moment. If you’re a fan of Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town you’ll remember Emily’s moving speech when she comes back after death to visit earth for one day, ending with the question: “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it — every, every minute?” To which the Stage Manager replies, “”No. Saints and poets maybe…they do some.”

I’m reminded of Psalm 90:12: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (KJV) I hope that my small digital prod will help me to do just that.

What about you? Are you ever conscious of how fast your moments are slipping by?”

Debi Simons is a Denver-area writer and speaker.
Visit her website at

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