What is quality of life? What do we really want to spend our time doing? Don’t most of us consider it important to spend time with those we love and to engage in meaningful, fulfilling tasks? Activities that enrich our lives, rather than our pocketbooks, are the things we truly long for, but most of us are forced to spend almost all of our time just surviving.
Time to enjoy life is precious, and time to spend in contemplation is a real treasure, but too many of us must work overtime or a second or even third job just to have enough money to live on, leaving little time to improve our quality of life. It seems there is some new scientific support for the notion that money isn’t everything. In recently published research, it is shown that people tend to be happier when they spend their money on ways to save themselves time than when they purchase material goods. The researchers propose this way to achieve happiness through wealth: to use money to purchase time-saving services and goods. I propose that we don’t need much wealth to achieve the same thing.
It is possible to live well without wealth, and have time to spend on personally enriching activities. Many such activities are not that expensive, and enhance one’s daily life a great deal. Simple things, such as dinner with friends, a walk in a park, or, of course, meditation, can improve one’s stress level and outlook on life, and are within the reach of many of us. Personal time spent doing things like this are far more valuable than most of us consider.
I suggest that we should curtail our workdays so that we can have time for our personal lives. It was once suggested to me that a six-hour workday would allow more people to be employed and improve productivity, as people would work only while still fresh rather than while tired and stressed. The six-hour workday would also allow for more personal time, thereby reducing stress and improving quality of life. Although not a magic bullet, this economic change would benefit society in a great many ways, but I doubt that the current establishment would agree.
I am sure they would expect most people to simply laze about or pursue hedonistic ends, and many people would. I propose that people could also spend time supporting each other, learning, and in contemplative pursuits. Meditation is becoming more and more widely practiced, and I find this very encouraging. I like to imagine a society where people would be engaged in daily contemplative practice and social service, so that no one would go without basic necessities and most would enjoy a high level of life satisfaction. We are capable of accomplishing this now, or at least beginning to; why are we waiting?
Copyright © 2017 Teresa Chupp. All rights reserved.