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"Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.

"
- Confucius

It seems that everyone in the western world believes that time moves faster as we
get older. Days, weeks and years fly by like never before in the past.

Seconds tick over at the same rate for people of 30 or 60 as they do for children
of course, so why does time seem to move so much faster as we get older?

The answer is that as we get older we tend to expect more from life.

We know more people, which means we receive from them and send to them more phone
calls and emails, and we speak with them more often when we meet. It's not that we
speak with them more than when we were teens, for example, but that we communicate
with them in so many more places because we are more mobile.

We belong to more clubs and other groups. We take time to exericse instead of
exercising as we execute other tasks.

We own more pieces of machinery to make our lives easier. Washing machines and
dryers, lawn mowers, shavers, four-wheelers, boats, food processors, vacuum
cleaners and electric toothbrushes all take time to buy, charge and fix (or fuss
over being broken before we decide to trash them).

We insist on time to entertain ourselves or to be entertained. Not only do we feel


we deserve it, we need this time to relax and unwind from our busy days.

Our work schedules tend to be busier because we have more responsible jobs, which
require more decisions in a day, more plans to make, more meetings, more phone
calls and emails to send.

Our communication with governments increases--tax forms take longer to figure out
or we have to find professionals to do the job for us, we have questions that
could cost us dearly if we don't find out from government representatives how to
do something properly, there are more laws and bylaws we have to learn about when
we removate our homes.

While we learned much of what we needed to know about looking after a home as
young adults from our parents, any change to our living arrnagements beyond those
early days of young adulthood requires a huge amount of time to process.

Not only divorces and breakups take time, but concern and worry over the
possibility of their coming takes time.

Building new lives because of a relationship breakup, loss of a job, a legal


charge for which we must defend ourselves (and the planning that goes with each)
take enormous amounts of time.

Any kind of conflict that affects our emotions--including physical attacks and
emotional terrorism by work colleagues, other members of our religion or
neighbours--requires a great deal of time to sort through and figure out what we
will do.

Keeping up with explosive volumes of news--now available to us from all parts of


the globe as well as from our own community--takes time each day so that we don't
appear ignorant when others talk about these events around the water cooler or
over coffee.
We tend to adopt more responsibilities in our personal lives than we might have
considered in past years.

Finally, those who want to sell us things or persuade us of the merits of their
point of view take an inordinate amount of our time. We can learn to control those
situations.

The more we expect of life, the more cluttered and complicated it gets, and the
faster time seems to pass. And, in many cases, the less time we take to appreciate
the good things we have in our lives.

As Confucius said, life is simple if we focus on what we need, what those we love
need (not on what they want) and how we fulfill those needs. Wants and desires
take time. Taking time to think for ourselves makes time seem less rushed.

Those who take some quiet time for themselves to think and to relax the brain tend
to feel less that time is rushing past them, that they are in control of their
lives. If we live our lives totally for others and take no time for ourselves, we
don't live a life, we vicariously live the lives of the others.

There will always be others who want us to invest our time in them. They may
deserve it, but we deserve for ourselves too.

Within reason, it's not selfish, but life-affirming. It's life-extending.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving
to help each person build the life they want.
Learn more at http://billallin.com