I worked from home today. I'm lucky enough to have that option.
But more and more people don't. They're faced to endure a commute to work that they don't get paid to enjoy. More time of their day sucked away means less time for the essential.
The problem is larger than us. It's larger than cities. It's the way our society has been designed. We stretched our world far beyond one another. And we're getting further. The more people feel the need to cram into cities to work, the more commutes and the work day lengthen.
But Sebastian Yunger reflects on this trade-off in a much deeper way in his book Tribe:
Modern society is taking our time and somehow we don't really benefit. We might be comfortable but is that what we want?
How much you want to participate becomes a delicate balance and a striking decision.
Do you want to commute?
Do you want to wait on line?
Do you want to see screens and not people?
Do you want to react to everything right away?
Yunger continues, "Numerous cross-cultural studies have shown that modern society - despite its nearly miraculous advances in medicine, science, and technology - is afflicted with some of the highest rates of depression, schizophrenia, poor health, anxiety, and chronic loneliness in human history. As affluence and urbanization rise in a society, rates of depression and suicide tend to go up rather than down."
It’s the hard truth about time - you can’t get it back.
We lie to ourselves that it needs to be this way and that we’ll make due somehow. But Frank Bruni made the inevitable point in a New York Times Opinion piece years ago called The Myth of Quality Time: