ToEvery day I go to work, it’s almost always the same. I wake up at 6, sharp. This gives me half an hour to talk to my mom, get dressed, eat breakfast, and hop on the train. The train takes an hour and a half to get to work. I work for eight hours straight, then go back home – possibly after having dinner with coworkers for all of an hour or so. By the time I come home, it’s time for dinner (if I didn’t eat already), a nice chat with my mom, and then some more work to do. And then, around midnight, I’ll sleep.
If anyone understands the culture of convenience our society has, it’d be me.
My life is one where I’m lucky to have 3 hours to myself per week. These three hours are often spent getting my nails done, getting my hair dyed, or if I’m lucky, getting lucky. In order to keep my life running as is, I have to have things delivered, paperwork filled out online, and everything done at my fingertips. In exchange for all the time I spend, I get money.
I make enough to get by, and realistically, that puts me in a very small percentage of people in my field. I’m happy for that. But, at the same time, I can’t help but feel like there’s a lot of life I’m not experiencing because of the rush, rush, rush of life. And, I’d be lying if I said that my life didn’t suffer because of it.
You see, constantly spending time toiling away at work has a price that is often hard to spot at first glance. Every day, it’s so easy to just say you’ll skip family dinner just this once so that your deadline can be met. It seems easy to just avoid picking up the phone when friends call and tell you that they miss you, because you just want to get sleep. Day after day, life gets whittled away into a weird routine where your human connections become less and less important.
Herein lies the problem I’m seeing with myself and many others: we forgot what it was like to have real connections with our fellow human beings. When I look at my current social life, most of my interactions are behind a screen. When I think of the last couple of conversations that I’ve had, they were mostly carried out by my fingers gliding against a phone screen. While I am not alone, I am alone thanks to technology.
It’s also influencing the way we see people. People are now disposable. We’re a “Like” or a “to order” hookup on Tinder. We no longer invest in people because we don’t want to spend the time to build strong bonds. Why have a strong bond with someone when you can have a bunch of weak ones, right?
To make matters worse, people are starting to become increasingly disposable to us on a social level. We’d rather ghost people than talk things out, because talking things out takes too long or feels too awkward. We just assume that there’s an endless supply of people and an endless supply of “fans” we can collect on Instagram…and if you’re honest with yourself, there really isn’t. If you keep throwing everyone away, eventually no one will be left.
Time is precious, but in many ways, we’re spending it on the wrong things. While I can’t alter my work schedule too much, I can work to change the way people spend their time with me. I can tell people that I want to see them in person rather than text the day away. I can tell people that I want to connect on a deeper level than Instagram selfies, and I can tell people that I expect them to say things to my face rather than ghost me online.
Time is very precious, and once we spend it, we can’t get it back. Are you spending it on the right people?