When I was at school, we learned that by the year 2000 we would all have much more free time on our hands. Advances in science would mean that robots would do most of the work, leaving you and me to enjoy a life of leisure.
So much for free time
What happened to that idea? We have washing machines to clean our clothes while we sleep and dryers to dry them while we take the children to school. And we have clothes that do not need ironing. No more wash and dry days, no more ironing days. It can all be done while we are out of the house.
I had to walk to the junior school and walk twice as far to get the bus to the senior school. Today, we have places where cars seem to outnumber people. And children today panic at the thought of walking half as far as I had to.
I remember clearing the frost from the inside of the bedroom windows, and even from the living room windows, whilst one of my parents lit the fire. Now, with central heating, it’s warm before we even wake up.
And as for the robots, it’s true that they have taken over much of the work in some industries. But they have also taken the jobs, leaving many people unemployed.
Yet do you feel you have more free time than you had when you were a young person? Do you have more free time than your parents had? Do you spend more time with your children or grandchildren than your parents or grandparents spent with you?
Do you feel that you are working to live, rather than living to work?
I doubt it.
Where has all the time gone?
Why do we have so little time available, these days? Where does it all go? Where has it all gone?
One thing that strikes me is that there are lots of people who own big houses, but they are never at home; if you can call it a home when there is hardly ever anyone in. Why? Is it possible that they are so busy working to pay for the luxurious lifestyle that they have no time to enjoy it?
How many people do you know who own motor homes that spend fifty weeks of the year sitting on the driveway? Where are the owners? Are they at work trying to pay for the luxury?
Where do most boats spend most of their time? Why?
Even the unemployed seem to be hardly ever at home. Why?
Is it possible that life has become too complicated? Or have we complicated life? After all, there are still twenty four hours in each day, seven days in each week, and fifty two weeks in each year, just as there were when we were children.
Isn’t it a fact that in trying to simplify our lives we may well have complicated them?
So what is the answer?
We have to simplify our lives. And that means simplifying our expectations.
Before making each purchase we need to ask ourselves how much of our time is it going to cost us? And that time includes, not only the time to earn enough money to pay for the item, but also the time to learn how to use and maintain it.
We also need to consider whether it really is a labour-saving device. Will it justify its existence? If it’s only going to gather dust that we will have to remove, then do we need it?
I’m not suggesting a spartan, ascetic lifestyle. But we can be surprised at the extra time that becomes available to us when we cut down on the clutter around us. I will discuss different types of clutter in a future article.
I have to admit that I am as guilty as anyone else in terms of clutter. I confess to being a bit of a hoarder. But I am trying to practice a suggestion that I read, recently: For every item that you bring into your home, remove one item from the house.
Another good suggestion is to remove one item from your home every day until you are happy with the result.
These suggestions, I admit, are easier said than done. And, even though I made a good start, maintaining the momentum is not easy. So I would be happy to hear your thoughts on how to de-clutter.
How do you go about it? Please, either leave a comment, or better still write your own article on the subject and link back to this one so that I will know about your post and read it. I will read and comment on all linked posts apart from the flagrant spam selling a luxurious lifestyle for a “minimun” expenditure. (Spam will be deleted and, possibly, reported.)
Meanwhile, I am going to look at ways to simplify my life. What about you?