Warning – this blog was intended to be a serious consideration of the dangers of having too much time on our hands. The serious part didn’t happen.
We spend so much of our adult life bemoaning not having enough time that entire genres of books devote themselves to slowing our lives down. In calm yet offensively inoffensive tones they share suggestions like – Reschedule your schedule and What distractions can I limit? To be fair after the distraction of rescheduling my schedule I’d need a lie down, which I’m unlikely to have enough time for due to the rescheduling. One website even suggests – Step Back (For a Second), before ensuring you’re not standing at the wrong end of a pier.
Most frequent advice is urging people to make space for the smaller things in life. I presume they don’t mean Tic Tacs, but to smell roses, pay that parking fine and read books on how to make more time for yourself.
But what happens when you have too much time? Like losing a job, or when children start school or have fled the nest entirely like you’d once prayed they would. I’m unsure clutching their ankles to prevent them from leaving like a tree in a hurricane was part of the deal. Ironically once you’ve found time to read books on finding time you no longer need them.
Writing about having too much time is like sharing the perils of Aston Martin ownership, it won’t win you any friends. But what does happen when you have too much time on your hands; enough to not only read books on slowing down your life, but to actually bloody write them. A lunch break is delicious, a lunch afternoon gluttonous.
Not having enough time to do things is the perfect excuse to scroll endlessly through Twitter, but if that’s all you’re doing you’ll start to believe Twitter-based surveys actually represent the mood of the country, even when it concerns little more than best Dire Straits b-sides.
It may not feel like it, but we actually have more time than ever. We live longer; we use faster cars and trains and don’t work coalfaces so deep that it takes half a day to reach them. But perhaps how we spend our days does require scrutiny. Research shows US teenagers spend 27 hours a week on the Internet, which is alarming only once you realise it’s half what their parents do. What the hell are we doing all day? I had a friend who claimed he’d not had a good night out unless he’d lost his glasses, not that he needed them to find his hangover the next day. He’d spend his time inventing new ways to avoid losing them, seemingly unaware that hanging them around your neck had already been patented.
Inventing is a good use of time; after all, I’d not be blogging if it weren’t for entrepreneurial folk using their time productively and inventing WordPress, not to mention the laptop. At least that’s someone to blame. In fact the greatest invention would be a self-propelled floating coffee table to follow you around, carrying stuff you imminently need: glasses, wine and crisps. Just so long as it’s switched off before driving into the fast lane (not that anyone lives on a motorway, even Keith Richards). It’s unlikely that even inventors with time on their hands could create a coffee table capable of 80mph whilst not spilling a drop. Its contents might also create uncomfortable questions on arrival at the in-laws, particularly if it avoids the heavy traffic and arrives there first.
Sitting up in bed reading while you should be at work is great fun, but sitting up in bed because there’s nowhere else to be is stultifying; like kisses, time is best stolen. Be careful what you wish for.
This is what I do with my time. My novel, The Life Assistance Agency – selected by WHSmith Fresh Talent 2017 – is available here – – http://myBook.to/lifeassistance and is a farcical road trip around Europe. ‘This is what would happen if the Blues Brothers went on a search for the Holy Grail.’
and it currently on offer at 99p on ebook here –