Nowadays we have so many things that help us shorten the distances and finish our tasks faster. Yet, we are always running out of time. Nowadays that seems normal. However, it wasn’t always like that.

In the “old days” if you wanted to message your friend from another country, you had to write a letter, wrap it neatly and all that, carry it to the post office or the mailbox and your friend had to wait for quite a while to finally receive it. The further back in history we go, the longer that process was (letters traveling with horses or simply carried by people, for example). Today it’s just a few clicks and your friend receives the news. Or your business partner or employer or husband or a politician or a celebrity or whatnot. We’re all connected.

This speeding-up of technology had (and has) a huge impact on our lives. When you Skype with your friend that moved to a foreign country it kind of seems, that it compresses space, in a way. It does the same with traveling. Just imagine riding a horse from NY to LA instead of taking the plane … This phenomenon doesn’t just have a direct effect on you personally. The corporations continue using it as a tool to spread their products and views easily and politicians (and influencers) spread their political messages in minutes, even seconds, and change hearts in no time. And we’re just taking off here, mind you.

It’s not just the technologies that change at an accelerating rate. We’re also experiencing changes in our habits, fashions and lifestyles, social relations, classes and so on and so forth. One of the most interesting examples of that is how fast we change partners today. As a sociologist Hartmut Rosa put it, the agrarian society relationships tended to stay the same over centuries. Nowadays we have more partners while trying to find “the right one”, and even when we do (if we do), there is still a possibility for a divorce. Another example of that phenomenon is how fast we change jobs. Before we find the right job we tend to try different things and even if we find a cool workplace, there is no guarantee that we will be there for the entire life, we may not want to be there that long. Interestingly, at our history classes, we were hearing about families, that had the same job for centuries (for example, if the father was a blacksmith, the son usually became one too and so on and so forth). I don’t think it’s the same for most of us nowadays, is it?

Political outlooks, “the lifestyle goals” and the way we live are changing on a daily basis and that makes our lives less stable. This is not just about fast changes in fashion, for example, like the “thick eyebrows” trend. Workers are getting replaced by machines and thrown out of their jobs, making their lives way less secure than it used to be. Technological advances are so fast, that legislation is limping behind them. A great example of that is huge clouds of information. How much information is safe to share? How much of my personal information should companies be allowed to have? What do we do if a hacker gets all of that information and what will be the consequences? These questions are never-ending and we’re merely starting to grasp them. Sometimes shit hits the fan before we’re ready for it.

Nowadays we also have this unquenchable desire to or need to do, experience, see (…) a lot of things in a small amount of time. I mean, a student, for example, spends half of his/her time listening to lessons, then he/she studies, eats a little, maybe goes to work, sends a couple of e-mails and texts a few friends, then there is evening and, if he/she is lucky enough, he/she will have the time to have a semi-good sleep. Meanwhile, he/she often has to multitask. There is not a lot of time for long lunches, fun activities, and family in that. It wasn’t always like that.
But the question of how remains. How is it that with all that technology and speed we seem to have less and less time? Let’s go back to student life for a moment. Students now need to do everything to beat the competition for the job that they want. I’d bet that the communication that they will do on a daily basis when they get that job, will take more of their time than it would take in 1990, let alone in 1850. So … We actually don’t have more time. As technology changed, so did the amount of work we are expected to do. The same thing happened with the invention of Tinder, for example. Or the invention of high-speed trains. You can find your own examples.
You see, the thing is, our society is a very competitive place. And if you want to stay in the game, you need to compete with your co-players. You need to be more inventive, contact that crucial investor or buyer faster than your competition, produce more things that are higher quality in a shorter period of time … So, for example, workers need to do more in a shorter period of time to achieve that. As stated earlier, students need to compete with their classmates, to get that job they really want to get. And so on and so forth. It’s not getting any easier, really and the situation has been snowballing for quite some time. How to stop it? No clue.
It’s not only that though. Today we have a feeling, that the world we’re experiencing, this life on Earth we have, is all that there is. People used to have the afterlife for joy and happiness and all the experiences that they could think of. Nowadays, even if we believe in a god or gods or a deity of any sort, I dare to say that most of us were sold the idea, that we need to have it all, we need to be all, the best, the brightest and we have to see everything, travel the world and experience it to the fullest. In a way, we want to be eternal, but we won’t live forever, so we’re trying to squeeze it all in the tiny little life that we have, but there’s not enough time, never enough time.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Is that really “it”? The key to happiness? Trying to squeeze it all in? Maybe everything is actually not worth working for. Because, my friend, the fact is, you’ll never experience everything and be happy to the fullest because of it. Maybe it’s smarter to pick out the little bits that are actually going to mean something to us. After we ask ourselves why certain things mean something to us, that is. But this is a topic for another post. So stay tuned, question everything and never stop thinking with your own head. ;)