After giving it a few minutes of serious thought (which was in spread out over a number of days – a fact that will become ironic in a moment), I think the most confusion part of life is the brevity and the manner in which we, as sentient life forms, choose to spend it. I am sure that there are numerous Web sites that would give you a detailed breakdown of the number of years we spend doing mundane things such as sleeping, dressing, and the such. In fact, a New York Times article published on 14 Oct 1900 went as far as to map out each activity in some detail based on an individual “whose allotted spell is threescore years and ten” into the following areas:
- Sleeping: 23 years and 4 months
- Work: 19 years and 8 months
- Recreation: 10 years and 2 months
- Eating and drinking: 6 years and 10 months
- Traveling: 6 years
- Illness: 4 years
- Dressing: 2 years
It is amazing to me as I look at this simple list what a difference 110 years of “progress” have made to the way in which we spend time. Obviously spending less time on things like “illness” is generally considered positive, but I would assume that the amount of time spent doing things like “recreation” have suffered mightily at the hands of “work.”
Interestingly enough, the NY Times ran another piece on the use of time and general productivity a scant 107 years after the first and you can see that on average we spend approximately 45 hours a week at work with nearly 20% wasted on relatively frivolous activities. Looking back at the article from 1900 it seems that after all the standard deductions of the day, the average worker put forth “slightly under five and a quarter hours each day” and they did so without Facebook (or even a television) upon which to fritter away their days.
What do you think about how you spend your time?