The real luxury is having time

Last Call


Imagine, if you will, that you are reaching the end of the road. It’s time to prepare to say farewell to your life on this planet. If someone asked what you would change if you could do it all over again, what would your answer be? In all likelihood, you wouldn’t wish you had bought a bigger house, added one more car to your collection, or anything like that. Most people probably would answer, “I wished I found more time to talk to my children, spent more fun nights with my friends, took one more trip to Italy, read the book I bought a few years back.” In other words: We’d all want more time. Time to discover ourselves, time to discover new places, or time to simply cherish the people who we appreciate.

In a world in which we are constantly overwhelmed with news, trying to keep up with technology (sometimes updating smartphones, computer software and apps feels like a full-time job), and working long hours to make it through college or provide for our families, time is the one commodity that becomes more precious than any other.

timeThere are any number of industries that are taking full advantage of our feeling of continually being time-starved. Think of the typical American stereotypes — which you will not necessarily find in other cultures — like drive-through everything, pizza deliveries, pre-washed salads, TV dinners, the list goes on. One would think with all the time we have saved, we would get to do more of the things that really matter. But because these time-savers cost more money, we must work harder to afford them, and because of the fast food we gulp down, we need to spend extra time to exercise — ever notice how fast food commercials compete for your attention next to the diet system ad spots?

And so, the vicious cycle continues and keeps us in the firm grip of corporate America, which very much enjoys the treadmill that time-deprived consumers find themselves on.

I’ll give you an example to make my point that saving is worth a premium. Frozen orange juice costs less than the bottled kind, but it takes more time to prepare. When is the last time you bought frozen orange juice? Remember the time when we needed a scissor and a few seconds to open a carton of orange juice? It got replaced by instant plastic caps, and up went the price. And we gladly pay for it.

Our own inner clocks and sense of time have changed. Make a point to watch the original version of “Ocean's 11,” filmed in 1960, and then watch the 2001 version immediately thereafter. You will find yourself yawning through the original despite its star-studded cast, waiting for the action to finally heat up.

In only five decades, our patience level has dropped dramatically. Everything has to happen faster and faster and faster. Instant coffee, instant dating, instant credit approval, instant divorce. Where will it end? Only the future will tell.

Marc Frey