A miracle happened. By the grace of G-d and the infinite mystery of the universe, I time traveled. I took off from Louisville Kentucky at 11:55 on Thursday morning. I touched down in Chicago at 11:45 on Thursday morning. 10 minutes before I took off from Louisville I arrived in Chicago. Now I’ll superman it and just keep flying backwards around the world.
While I was time traveling at cruising altitude, I got to thinking about time and how we use it. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve said that there weren't enough hours in the day. In reality, I know that what I mean is that there aren't enough hours in the day for me to goof off and also get the things done that I want to get done. It’s one of the most interesting things about society right now, how much we claim to value our time that we then proceed to waste.
In 2017, according to Nielsen ratings, the average American watched five hours and 4 minutes of television a day. That’s 35 and a half hours per week. Or 77 days a year spent in front of the hypnotize tube. That’s insane. Imagine that. Over 40 Years that’s a full 8 years of your life that you spent in front of a television. We have a problem with self control in this country that’s mind boggling to imagine. From food, to entertainment, to spending, we reinforce our habits to make us fat, lazy, and complacent. There’s something to be said here for the fact that we’ve set the table for corporations to give this to us twenty four seven, while we feign outrage on social media but rarely find ourselves getting up off our asses to so much as go for a walk around the neighborhood.
The final arbiter, and the final person that allows the aches and sorrows, and give the joys of life is you. It’s up to you to achieve or to fail. Now, you don’t have to be so hardcore that all else is consumed. You don’t need to be working 20 hours a day and never spend time on relaxing, that’s no good either. Arguably it’s just as bad even though you’ll be making some money for your time. Moderation is a better policy than zealotry usually, though when it comes to kindness, love, gentleness, and self discovery there’s never a cap. Right now in our society, we’ve substituted the value of time for the value of money, using them interchangeably. In reality, only time spent with yourself, on yourself will help you achieve your serious goals and keep you from wasting your life in front of a screen. How can you even say you’re living if a fourth of your day is spent silently sucking in fresh frozen, fast food culture through a phone? How do you know what’s truly of value when all you pursue is the same set of plastic replacements for love on Amazon?
When you give up your time and waste it distracting yourself, you’re not just giving up benefits either. You’re losing so much to sit in front of that television. Measure the cost of that time in front of the flickering screen with the amount of time that you lose with loved ones, places that you’ll never go because you had to keep the couch warm, or dreams that you’ve accomplished because you had to beat the next level of angry birds. You’re trading your life to numb that psychic pain that we deal with when we’re aware of our life. Luckily, living a more fulfilled life will actually heal you and help you grow as opposed to the sweet anaesthetic of a television.
All of this to simply say, stop fucking around. Do something with your life. You don’t have to cure cancer but you can sure as hell find a place to volunteer at for one hour a week. The next time you’re about to turn on the tube, turn it off and pick up a book or try cooking a new recipe or get started on that bench you wanted to build. Human potential is infinite, and if you simply diagnose the places in your life where you lose the most opportunity, and reapply just a sliver of that somewhere else, I guarantee you that not only will you feel better about yourself, but you’ll do it more often. Just like it’s easy to fall into bad habits, so is it to fall into good ones. You just have to decide to. The more good habits you develop and pick up, and the more you move into a space that promotes your development, the easier it is to make those same good choices with your time and energy. If your time is so valuable, then you can absolutely find time to walk a better path if you’re missing out on life just to watch whatever YouTube happened to suggest to you that day.
As I touched down in Chicago and got ready to head to the next leg of my journey, I thought about my photography, writing, buying and selling, working. If I want to get it all done, I have to regiment how much I time I spend on throwaway distractions. I love playing League, but if I want to create an actual series of photography prints it’s going to have to take a backseat. I love tuning in to my latest anime, but rather than watch late at night, cutting out an extra hour of sleep, I have to just turn off the computer and go to bed so I can get going the next day even stronger. We all have extra time in our lives, quit wasting it.