The second post that’s an e-mail doing double duty.
It’s not easy, it doesn’t feel natural, to work so hard, and so incessantly, and under such unrelenting pressure, at this age. One doesn’t feel cut out for it somehow; there isn’t the energy. I don’t know how much of this is really based on nature and how much on culture, the expectation programmed into us by the 1950s. My brother David and I were in Florida — he’s “only” 51 going on 52 — both scrambling to keep up with our work, and I said to him, “You know, people used to retire at this age.” Maybe the simple lack of precedent for this lifelong productivity is part of the problem. Clearly, if it’s bad for us, it’s also good for us. So go figure.
A better balance of work and R’n’R would be awfully nice, though. No one ever feels replenished (not even the wealthy, as they probably drive themselves at least as hard as everyone else now; even those who only play make a full-time job of it, with competition, goals, and overtime). Another big factor is economic anxiety, of course; another factor is these information devices that make it possible to cram so much more into a lifetime; you feel that because you can, you ought to. The result is that there seems to be, actually and physically, less time; a shortage of time. Maybe there’s a finite amount of time and it’s divided by the number of people on earth, so each of us gets a smaller and smaller slice of the pie? We are living longer in better shape (because we work at it!), but our lives being longer doesn’t seem to compensate for their becoming narrower, faster, and shallower. That makes time sound like water, something else the world is running out of.
But of course older people always feel like time is running faster (because it’s running out, like the proverbial toilet paper roll), and young people always feel like they have all the time in the world. My father says his weekly magazines arrive every three days.
Meanwhile, one of the best-selling books of all time is Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Work Week.