Time = Opportunity

We live in a culture of instant gratification and chaotic speed. We stress when traffic causes us to lose five minutes of our precious time, we groan and sigh when a cashier has to call for help, we flip out when a plan dissolves (ok maybe just me). We as a country have led the world in the creation of new gadgets designed to make our lives easier yet busier.

1910 ish:

  • Travel was done predominately by foot, horse, or train.

  • Dialog was carried by handwritten letters, telegrams sent by DOT-DOT-DASH-DOT-DASH, rudimentary radio, or the age old mouth to ear approach.

  • The country had around 75 million inhabitants.

  • There were roughly 8,000 cars, 140 miles of paved roads, and the common speed limit in cities was 10 mph.

  • About 8% of households had phones.

  • The airplane was only on paper in its most infantile form.

  • TV was the theater (actual stage with people). One production per night.

  • The ocean was a barrier.

2010 ish:

  • Travel is conducted predominately by car and plane

  • Dialog is done through word of mouth, emails, letters, cell phones, blogs, twitter, Facebook, MySpace, the internet in general, satellite phones, TV, radio, etc.

  • Population of close to 300 million.

  • As of 2007 there were around 240,000,000 cars registered in the states, there are roughly 4 million miles of public road and 4 million miles of highway, and the common speed limit in cities is 36 mph.

  • Around 85% of Americans have cell service of some kind.

  • There are 22 CATEGORIES of aircraft.

  • TV is now a large and narrow box with better colors than real life and you have hundreds of channels and mainstream movie theaters show 2-30 different movies every week.

  • The ocean is a playground and something to fly over.

I could continue, microwave meals, instant coffee, dishwashers, elevators/escalators, pay-at-the-pump…we have steadily sped up our lives to the point that we can’t handle to wait, to sit and think, to listen. In our busy lives we hardly ever take the time to be with people and listen to them. We are living a movie with no dialog. It keeps the mind busy but does not completely satisfy.

Time after time I have heard stories of kids saying that the thing they appreciate most or desire most from their parents is time. All they ask is for the parent to tune attention from self to them for a few minutes and to enter their world. What does a child have to look forward to in life if they grow up with an energetic zombie as a parent? Going full speed, always moving on, moving on. I believe that if kids were given the ability to use remotes on their parents, the pause button would be worn down to nothing.

Time is truly the most precious commodity and we all control an equal portion of it. What will you do with yours? Will you take two seconds to say hello to your neighbor? Will you stop what you are doing and laugh at your child’s poorly articulated joke? Will you finally get back to writing that best selling book?