How often people today cry out in exasperation or despair, "I just don't have enough time!" There is so much to do: earn a living, fulfill a vocation, nurture relationships, care for dependents, exercise, clean the house. Moreover, we hope to maintain sanity while doing all this, and to keep growing as faithful and loving people at the same time. We are finite, and the demands seem too great, the time too short.
Those of us who feel pressed for time have lots of company. In a surprise bestseller of 1991, The Overworked American, economist Juliet Schor reported that work hours and stress are up, and sleep and family time are down for all classes of employed Americans. Wives working outside the home return to find a "second shift" of housework awaiting them. Husbands add overtime or second jobs to their schedules. Single parents stretch in so many directions that they sometimes feel they can't manage. Simultaneously, all are bombarded by messages that urge them to spend more (and so, ultimately, work more), to keep their homes cleaner (standards keep rising), and to improve themselves as lovers, investors, parents, or athletes. Supposedly to make all this possible, grocery stores stay open all night long, and entertainment options are available around the clock. We live, says Schor, in "an economy and society that are demanding too much from people."
What's a person to do? U.S. culture has some answers ready. "Quality time with your kids" is the answer for parents. An exercise machine that reduces stress and burns off fat in only 20 minutes, three times a week, is the answer for the overwrought and the overweight. "What you need is a good night's sleep or a vacation" is the answer one friend offers to another. Each of these ...1
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