Ok, I haven’t got a lot of time to make this post, but I think we need to talk about these unrealistic expectations that are put onto us by society today. We are charged with a variety of tasks that we are required to fulfill and there just isn’t enough time, and something needs to be done.
As the expression goes, there are only a certain amount of hours in a day. Well I would like to expand on that and say that there are only a certain amount of hours in a week… and if we do everything that society says we need to do in order to live a healthy and normal life… we’re about 48 hours short.
Lets get the big ones out of the way first. The medical profession says that in order to be healthy, we need to sleep a minimum of 8 hours a night, and in order to be a useful contributing part of society, we need to work 40 hours a week. That’s a total of 96 hours out of your 168 hour week… gone… which is well over half… in fact it’s over 5/8ths of your week gone right there (God, I don’t have time to do all of this math, but I’m going to run with it). That leaves us with a total of 72 hours left in order to complete all of the rest of the things we need to do.
One would think, that in all fairness, the time it took to enable us to be a useful and contributing part of society would be included in the 40 hours of our work week… BUT NO… we have to commute on our own time! And as an added insult, they have most of us commute at the same time each day, which creates a traffic jam of people rushing to get in their time, at the same time, adding to the length of time! So instead of all of us staggering our start times in our occupations, and creating a steady flow of traffic all day, we all need to be on the road at 8am in order to travel that 400 meters of clogged sixteen lane highway into downtown to get to work at 9am.
So now we lose an average of 14 hours a week, commuting, in order to facilitate the 40 hours we spend being useful and contributing members of society… which leaves us with 58 hours in our week.
We also need to be presentable while we are at our 40 hours of societal toil. We can’t smell or look bad, so every morning into the shower we go. Lather, rinse, and repeat (REPEAT!? WE HAVE TO DO IT AGAIN?), leave the conditioner in for 5 minutes (CAN’T THEY MAKE AN INSTANT CONDITIONER?) make sure you scrub your feet using the foot scrub, your back using the back scrub, and your face using the exfoliating face scrub (WHY CAN’T I JUST USE ONE THING FOR EVERYTHING?). Women, shave your legs and pits, guys, shave your backs. And the medical profession says that this is the best time to check for lumps, so guys, grab your dangly bits, and girls check those chest bumps. Careful not to linger and get aroused, because there is no time for that right now.
Once you’re out of the shower, the various national dental associations say we should brush each tooth in an up and down motion 15 times, and floss between each tooth 5 times. So do that for the next 10 minutes. Then for men there is the face shaving, and for women there is the face painting. Blow dry and style your hair, and then get dressed in your power suit, because dammit, you need to look like a professional in order to advance in your 40 hour a week occupation so you can make more money and stop using the cheap back scrub and maybe buy specialized eyebrow styling mousse.
Even if you are super efficient, following ALL of the rules in the morning ritual will take about an hour a day. Now we are down to 51 hours left in our week.
Then there is the time it takes for basic survival. The various medical peoples say that we need to eat 3 times a day with a regulated amount of vitamins, protein, minerals, fats, and fibre. That’s 21 meals a week. And we need to prepare those in a creative way so we’re not bored and resort to eating boxed microwaved banalities every meal (the medical folks say we need to eat fresh foods… those jerks). The average meal takes about 30 minutes to prepare, so that’s another hour and a half a day.
And don’t think you can save time by going out and having people prepare it for you. There is the extra commute, and the time spent in line behind the guy who takes twenty minutes to decide whether he wants the jumbo burger with spicy thousand island dressing or the extra jumbo burger with the salty bacon shaped pieces of cardboard on it. Fast food patronage works out to be about the same amount of time.
Then there is the time it takes to CONSUME your meals. The same medical stooges say we have to chew each bite of our food twenty times. That’s a whole lotta chewing! Taking that into account, over three meals, you can take another 3 hours off of your day.
I thought I may have had a solution to the preparation and consumption of sustenance. I bought a big blender and a massive amount of different fruits and vegetables, thinking I could just turn everything into juice, thus reducing the prep time and eliminating the chewing altogether. But of course I didn’t have time to read the blender instructions, and I did something wrong. So now I have a broken blender that smells like burning, and a counter full of rotting guava and acai berries.
Which brings up the acquisition of ingredients for your sustenance. We average around 2 hours a week just shopping in grocery stores, let alone any other shopping we NEED to do.
Lastly, there is the elimination of your sustenance. We spend an average of half an hour a day siting on the porcelain throne, and that number increases the older we get. Remember, don’t push it. Let it come naturally on it’s own time (WHICH WE DON’T HAVE!).
SO when we add up all of the hours we need to sustain ourselves (shop, prep, eat, and eliminate) it works out to 37 hours a week. Which leaves us with 14 hours left in our 7 days.
Man this post is long… we don’t have time for this!
Then there is the cleanup that we are required to participate in. Dishes, laundry, vacuuming, ceiling cleaning, porcelain throne washing, furniture polishing, dusting, window washing, lawn mowing, driveway sweeping, etc. takes another 5 hours off of our week if we follow all of the rules laid out by… um… them that lay out the rules.
Of course, we need to lengthen our lives, so we gain more time to do all of the things. In order to do this we need to exercise, which adds up to an hour a day if you keep to the recommended allotment set out by those medical people.
At this point, we are down to 2 hours of time left in our week.
Although there are a bunch of things that you don’t need to do every week, there are various things you MUST do every month or every year. Dentist appointments, hair appointments, manicure appointments, proctologist appointments, gynecologist appointments, pediatrist appointments and a myriad of other “ist” appointments. Every month you should clean your dryer vents, empty your hot water tank, clean your furnace filters, snake your drains, clean your roof, flip your mattress, and replace the filters on your water dispenser, air conditioner, and vacuum cleaners.
Once a year we need to change our smoke alarm batteries, clean the air ducts, inspect the gas lines, change the passwords on everything, do your taxes, sharpen your mower blades, and buy a tie for your uncle Bob every Christmas.
All of these various REQUIRED tasks eat up the remaining 2 hours of the week.
I haven’t even mentioned the time required if you have a pet, or kids or both.
God forbid you have a Facebook account and play FarmVille.
In order to meet all these guidelines of time, I try to multitask, but it doesn’t always work. Brushing your teeth while in line at the grocery store, or a proctology exam while commuting to work are apparently frowned upon in polite society. So we’re stuck doing most of these things one at a time.
And we rarely get any extra time given to us. Once every four years we get a leap day, but it’s just thrown in with the rest of the days, and this year I read that we were gifted an extra second to realign the clocks. Of course it took me five minutes to read the article about the extra second so it was completely wasted.
Ok, I’m running out of time, so I’ll finish up.
I think we need to appeal to those in power to add an extra six hours to our day so we can accomplish everything we are supposed to do. Then the term “in the eleventh hour” won’t seem nearly so daunting because we’ll still have another seven hours left in the day.
But until then, get off of the damned computer and grease the chain on your garage door opener, because the manual says it should be done once a year, and today’s the day.