22 Year LED Plan

I just bought our first LED light bulb. They are certainly more expensive than the other types, but have some major selling points. The box told me that the bulb will last 22 years. 22 Years! This bulb will be old enough to drink one day. Also it’s supposed to save me $138 in energy costs over it’s lifetime.

Alright, here’s my money.

Got that bad boy installed, stepped back and smiled, see you in 22 years. Then I pondered that thought. I pictured returning home from my daughter Nola’s wedding reception.

*click *click *click

“Huh…Hey Charity, our first LED bulb finally burned out!”

Much like the light in my soul from having just given away my firstborn. I’ll change out of my sweaty post-reception clothes. I’ll be tired because, no doubt, I had just pop and locked my way to a fierce dance battle victory, but I’ll hop on my hover board anyway—dear scientists: fingers crossed—and cruise down to the grocery store. I’ll take my 22 years of cumulative energy cost savings and buy $138 worth of tissues, to get Charity and I through the next week of going through Nola’s baby pictures. I’ll probably snag a new bulb as well, then have one of the grandkids replace it 22 years later when we come home from our 54th wedding anniversary bash.

Again, where I pop and locked my way to yet another dance battle victory.

I can’t be stopped.

*note to self: learn to pop and lock*


Part of the Family

22 years is a long time. There is very little you can buy that lasts that long anymore. It’s enough time to get attached to something. Should I name the LED bulb? If we move, will I want to bring “Terry” with us? No wait, “Zeppelin”. Yeah. That’s a much better name for a “LED” bulb.

If we move I’m totally bringing Zeppelin with us. He’s part of the family.

Life has now been reduced to four or five light bulb changes. Which is weird to think about. What will life be like in 22 years when I’m swapping out Zeppelin and telling the kids that he’s gone to live on a farm far, far away? Life will look completely different. Drastically so.

I think it’s good to have five-year plans. They help us lay out goals and consider what we want to do or accomplish. But I think when we look even further down the road, the things we want to accomplish look different. Those things are deeper.

In five years I will want to have done this or that, or have traveled here, or created amazing things, or chase this dream or that one.

But in 22 years I will want to be laughing with our kids like they are our best friends, to marry them off to wonderful spouses, to have a marriage that, like fine wine, has only gotten better, to have an actual—not virtual—network of great friends, to have a pile of fantastic experiences under our collective belt.


Relational Gains

It seems that five-year plans are task oriented, while longer-term 22 year plans are relationship oriented. They get down to what’s really important. At least they should.

When I think far down the road I’m less concerned with material gains and more concerned with relationships. I hope those will be rich. I believe five-year plans help facilitate this. Hopefully my kids see me pursuing or building something. Maybe we’ll do it together, maybe I’ll help them with their five-year plan. And in doing so, we will sow seeds, and cultivate a relationship with deep roots.

There are obviously practical long-term goals that are important to take into account. Retirement, savings, investments, etc. But those are not what come to mind as I try to picture the future. It’s people stuff. What will my family be doing? What adventures will we have had? Did we make memories? Not captured on through the lens of a phone, but captured in our hearts. Did we avoid just plodding through the last 22 years on autopilot?

Which raises another set of questions. What am I doing now to ensure that, when the time comes to pluck Zeppelin out of his socket, I will be smiling not wishing?

What is my 22 year LED plan?


  1. Tom Long said:

    Ok I just figured it up. I have about 30 bulbs in the house if I change them all out that would be 30 x $8 = $240

    Now it is about .02 (rounding up) savings per day per bulb if the estimate of 22 years is correct. I could start recouping 60 cents a day from day one. That totals $4818 dollars in savings over the 22 years.

    See you later I am going out to buy one of those 4k TV’s and pay for it with the savings. Thanks Ry

    March 19
  2. Kathy N. said:

    You are a cruel man, Ryan Long. First you make me laugh until I nearly cry. Then, you make me cry. Because, I’m on the other end of things with Zep, evaluating how we’ve done with those twenty-two years. Plus another twenty. Fortunately, I think the savings are in the right things.

    Bad news for you: that means our retirement plan involves living with our children.

    March 19
    • Ryan Long said:

      The good news for me is that you had four children. And I married the youngest. So we have a three family buffer before your retirement plan gets to us. 🙂

      I think your savings are in the right place too. There are many people far wealthier than you that are not nearly as rich.

      March 20
  3. Serenity said:

    oh Ry, how I love this. Love, love, love.

    March 20

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