April 30, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Tempus Fugit

So ends April.

My day-to-day life has been so busy lately that I haven't paused to consider the fact that one-third of the year has already passed. It's hard to believe how quickly the first four months have flown by. And yet that seems to be par for the course. Every year, I find myself commenting, "Wow, where did the time go?" It's often said that time flies when you're having fun, but I don't know... time just seems to fly, period. Is that just life as an adult with responsibilities? Or is it the frenetic pace of our modern lives?

I sometimes find myself daydreaming about a simpler, slower life. What if there was time enough in the day to accomplish what you needed to do and still have time left over to walk on the beach at sunset, work on an arts & crafts project, or read War and Peace? I guess that's called "retirement," but something seems wrong about running on the hamster wheel at full bore for most of your adult life just to be able to spend your final years playing shuffleboard and drinking mint juleps. Why can't we "retire" till we're 50, then work till we die?

Recently, a friend tried to get me and three other friends to "meet" online to play a computer game together. We ended up getting started late at night because, out of the five of us, four were working till after 10:00 p.m.—and the fifth couldn't make it because he was out of town on business. Sure, this was just a random episode, not any kind of representative sample of society at large, but it gave me pause. I'm working 60-hour weeks because I have to work several crappy jobs just to make ends meet until I find a "real" job. But my friends who have good jobs are working comparably long hours. That seems to be the norm these days in America.

A recent study by the World Tourism Organization found that, of the countries studied, the United States ranked last in average number of vacation days. While hardworking Japanese enjoyed 25 vacation days per year, and Italians disappeared for a whopping 42 days (certo), Americans took off only 13 days per year. I'm certainly no poster boy for the Overworked American; I've had too many "vacation" days over the past two years. But I do believe the pace of life in modern America is getting out of hand. Don't believe me? Spend some time on the freeways and surface streets of any major metropolitan city during business hours, and let the horns and middle fingers tell you.

If I had a point, I think I lost it somewhere in the second paragraph. Having worked a 14-hour day, I'm writing this late at night, and am not as focused as I would be if I still had 14 years of retirement left until I turned 50. But I hope your own busy job allows you time enough to read this.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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4/29: Camaraderie
4/28: A Mis Hondureños
4/27: Sunday Night Ramblings
4/26: Hair Band Nostalgia
4/25: Consequences
4/24: Lemon Curry?
4/23: My Father Midas
4/22: Earth Day
4/21: Joshua Tree, Part III
4/20: Joshua Tree, Part II
4/19: Joshua Tree, Part I
4/18: Royal Flush
4/17: A Long Strange Trip
4/16: A New Line to Back
4/15: Still Writing
4/14: Conspiracy Theory
4/13: Los Coronados
4/12: Y2K in Y2K3
4/11: Slow Glass
4/10: Freedom of Speech
4/9: Why We're Fighting
4/8: Eucalyptus Memories
4/7: Sleep
4/6: Writing, Just Not Here
4/5: Sci-Files Trivia
4/4: Sobering Up
4/3: Great White Hope
4/2: Entropy
4/1: Peace on Earth
Previous months in The Archive

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