Monday, April 20, 2009

Time is NOT infinitely expandable.

Again, a blog post instigated by Twitter. In this case, tweets on how one MUST do yoga daily and another on how you REALLY SHOULD exercise in the morning. But the post is running long, so the morning exercise one will likely wait till tomorrow.

Anyway - I've run out of patience with 'experts' who cheerfully point out that doing takes but a few minutes but they KNOW will result in your life being so VERY much better. Maybe they ARE right on the stuff improving my life. I will never find out because I HAVE A LIFE and can't do all the things that will 'just take a few minutes'.

Let's look at a typical day for someone who has a job and a kid or two. Who commutes to work. Who may or may not have a car (whether they are eco-involved or just can't afford one is not the point right now). Let's also look at the 'things you MUST do each - in fact, let's start there.

Here's a starter list of 'things you MUST do daily'
Brush teeth, two minutes each time, 5 times a day (getting up, going to bed, after 3 meals). 10 minutes, not including flossing, since that's only once a day.
Daily yoga, 30 minutes.
Daily maintainance aerobics 30 minutes.
Daily weight loss aerobics (since most in the US, like me, have to lose weight) 30 MORE minutes a day.
Meditate - 20 minutes, twice a day, so 40 minutes total
Shower/dress/other prep, let's say 25 minutes a day.
Eat 3 meals. 1 hour - don't glup, eat with focus and chewing your high fiber foods well!
Daily weight training 20 minutes
Sleep - MUST get 8 hours or you'll die sooner.
House cleaning, daily - dishes, sweeping, hiding worst things 30 minutes

Hey, we're already over 12 hours a day! Let's add working 8 hours and we're over 20 hours.

Not to mention....
We still haven't commuted, supervised homework, gotten kids ready for school, cooked meals, read paper, etc. Let's say a MINIMUM of a 1 hour commute, 1 hour focused on kids, 15 minutes on the newspaper. We're at 22.75 hours. Much of that last 1 1/4 hour will be spent cooking.

So your 24 hours is gone. And you haven't talked to a friend/adult family member/significant other yet You certainly haven't had time to grind whole wheat berries into whole grain flour or made bread from that flour. You haven't shopped, vacuumed, cleaned out the fridge, cleaned a bathroom, or taken out the garbage. If you commute by public transportation you need to add more time for that. Heck, we haven't even included picking up kids from after school care, let alone soccer practice/games or any lesson or even scouts or evening religious school.

If you eliminate darn near everything aimed at keeping YOU healthy - all exercise and meditation - you can fit in the kids' stuff. But if you get fat and have high blood pressure then it's YOUR fault because it just takes a few minutes to do those things, right?

The Weekend!
But there is still the weekend to look forward to! 9 extra hours a day, a total of 18 hours in which you need to ... do laundry (2.5 loads per person), vacuum, dust, clean bathrooms, change linens, go to kids' games, maybe go to church/temple/coven, grocery shop, hit other stores (kid outgrew shoes? Something in house broke and you need parts to repair it?), fix what's broken, pick up the house, wash kitchen floor, etc.

If you have a car, it's probably faster to go to a laundrymat than to have a washer and dryer at home - if you can do all 7 loads of laundry at once with the multiple machines there instead of doing them one at a time at home. But if you have to take public transportation hauling 7 loads of laundry around it's rough.

Mow the lawn? Sure, there's one hour left. But instead, maybe y'all need haircuts. Maybe you want to see a movie? What if the gutters need to be cleaned?

Oh, Frak! haven't paid the bills yet. Do you need to take cash and get money orders to do that? That's another chunk of time.

And while it 'only takes a few minutes' to MAINTAIN a garden, when are you going to find time to prepare beds? When are you going to find time to go to the farmer's market? Do you have time to go to a free concert in the park? Time to take a hike?

Yeah, everything can be broken down into steps that only take a few minutes. But there are STILL only so many minutes in a day. Even if you are incredibly efficient and multitask.

Now, I've not even listed all of the things that 'you MUST do for health/wealth/sanity' according to experts. All of which "only take a few minutes a day'. All I've done is START to quantify why real people living real lives give up on most of it.

Darn right we're getting carryout so there is time to go to the soccer game. The kids need the exercise as much or more than they need EVERY meal to be home cooked and at peak nutrition.
Darn right we're going for a picnic and playing in the park instead of mowing the lawn - but I'll probably go over food ads, plan menus, and MAYBE read back issues of the paper while the kids play.

Guilt manages to find me, even when I'm in the park trying to hide from it.

Catch you later!


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