I know What You Did Last Year


Americans spent four months of 2003 sleeping, six weeks watching television, and just 4½ days exercising, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The study didn’t exactly portray Americans as overworked. Think of it—six full weeks, 24 hours every day—that’s how much time we spent watching television, if we compacted it all together. It’s something to think about the next time we complain about having only two weeks of vacation time.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, which reported on the study, “Americans watch two hours and 34 minutes of tv a day on average, compared with 20 minutes a day exercising and eight minutes a day volunteering or participating in religious or spiritual activities” (October 14; emphasis ours). That amounts to about two days—out of a whole year—that we devote to religious and spiritual activities.

As author Annie Dillard once said, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”