Time after time

I saw yet another discussion supporting the four-day workweek on my friend’s Facebook timeline. (Some people even insist on four-hour workweek.) As the world divides up between haves and have-nots, so is the work life. You either punch 50+ hours of work, or punch yourself on the street looking for any source of income.

The technology and infrastructure for distributing wealth and jobs are already there. What is missing is, as always, our mindset. Maybe we have yet to find out an alternative to the failed Soviet-style communism society. I think the problem is rather in our ignorance: We do not see that we have two extreme positions in our behaviors while lamenting on the extreme divisions occurring in the society. We do not understand that it is each of us that is driving the 1% vs. 99% society forward.

We have two contradicting ideas in our mind. On one hand, we want everything to be equal. We want equal job opportunities, equal human rights, equal relationships, equal share in anything we commit to. That is what we say all the time: We do not want the 1% vs. 99% world. But on the other hand, we reward The Best with our behavior. We watch movies that are created by a handful of top players in the movie industry, over and over again (sequel, reboot, adaptation). We search for the cheapest option available (Walmart, Costco). We are obsessed about the sole winner at the end of a journey (reality shows). Our action says far more louder and clear than our word: We want (to be) the 1%.

If I use the analogy of the Soviet Union again, we know the problem isn’t about lack of resource or opportunities: it is about the unequal, or even broken, distribution system. In order for the society to turn its trend around and provide for each citizen sufficiently, we, the 99%, must first begin by realizing our toxic obsession and abandoning our own practices.

Saying so is easy, so easy. Doing so…not so much. How easy it is for us to stop buying at Costco and visit local grocery stores with local goods, sold with 300% markup? How easy it is for us to stop watching reality shows, reading celebrity news, watching blockbusters? Do we even realize that it is us who is driving the divided world even farther apart, in the first place?

If there is a hope for this self-choking rat-race, I think it is taking back our time. I am not talking about taking more vacations or reducing the amount of tasks or one of those “tricks” to survive and win the career war. Literally, I think the first step might be to give ourselves abundant time. To do what? Nothing.

Abundant time for the sake of time is what allows us to see what is most important, take care of ourselves and our family, stay sane during this chaotic period. Regarding the four-day workweek argument, I do not think it is about the length of the weekend. As long as it is called “weekend” that comes in conjunction with “weekdays,” the 2 or 3 days are still part of our working life, and therefore would not allow us to see the big picture outside the corporate framework.

I have been living a self-employed life for just over a month and it is already giving me a tremendous amount of insight into my habits, fixed ideas, and routines that have stopped working a long time ago. I saw them clearly because I first cleared my life and gently forced myself to see every aspect of my life. I did not plan to do that, but if you have no obligation (temporary) and all time, you naturally focus on yourself. It can be brutal, but it is more than worth it.

I haven’t stopped buying at Costco or watching expensive silly movies (at least I am free of reality shows, except for some YouTube moments, shown below) so I am still far off the wannabe 1% mindset, but taking ourself back of our time should be the first step. And ironically, disillusioning ourselves of a “stable career” might be turning our attention into what our life is about, after all. I certainly hope so.