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"If you had a year, one whole year given to you, how would you spend it?" The keeper of time asked her.
"I’d travel, I’d pursue the passions I’ve been putting on hold, I’d see the friends I never have time to see."
"OK—so why don’t you do that?"
Commuting on average absorbs an entire year of our lives. One year spent moving from home to work and back again. An entire year of our lives that we will never be able to make up for. For most people, it is the simple act of going to work and back; it can’t be avoided, it’s just something we do. It’s easy to accept when it’s something you have to do, but why waste an entire year on moving from one place to another. A year in the grand scheme of our lives seems so minuscule, and yet, it can be filled with so many things: You could travel the world, pick up long-lost hobbies, or spend time with people you never see.
People will find a way to get the time back. Maybe it’s as simple as a nap before coming home, one that will keep you awake longer in the evening so that the time when you arrive home is well spent. With the rise of Netflix, more people spend their time watching TV shows or movies on the train, arguably one of the best ways for time to pass quickly. People have completed novels by utilising the time they spend on public transport, viewing the hours as the perfect time to be productive rather than the grueling hours spent trying to get home after hours at a job you may or may not enjoy. These hours are precious when you have productive tasks to do, when you have things to fill your time to distract you from the repetitive journey.
"How’s writing going?"
"I just don’t have the time anymore."
However, a culture remains where people lose time whilst others take advantage of it. Hours are lost by sitting on a train commuting back and forth and this is time that doesn’t have any reason to be lost. There are two ways to gain the year lost in commuting: Either stop commuting, work from home, or freelance—which is easier said than done—or embrace the year's worth of time you have. We live in an age of portable technology and if not, we have notebooks, pens, and our own brains. Every person can utilise their time, and it’s up to us to notice the time that we have instead of the time that we may be losing. As we all know, a year can feel like a lifetime or a second, and it can feel as though you achieved nothing or everything. Everyday a piece of your lost year is created when you step on to your train, or in to the car on the way to work, but it is up to you to bring that year back and make it a year pertinent to you—not something that numbs your mind in the beginning and at the end of the day.
"That’s a long commute."
"I know, but I do things to get the time back."
By utilising your time you’re realising how important it is to our existence. The time you wasted watching too much TV and talking about your friends love life was great when you were a teenager, but when you’re an adult and trying to make something of yourself, this time counts. It doesn’t have to be an external passion like writing, drawing, or coding. It can be reading, expanding your mind, catching up on shows you love, and making sure that year was well spent.
"So, how was your year?" They asked as the clock is counting down from 10 and you have another drink in your hand.
What do you respond? When someone asks how your year was at the end of the year, you look back on it: What you’ve achieved, where you’ve been, and how you’ve spent your time. Don’t treat commuting as a downfall on every year, treat each journey as the days in the year of your life that it consumes. If you’re at the beginning, middle, or nearing the end of your commuting life, you have the time to make it useful, in whatever way is significant to you.
"Would you spend a year gazing out the window of a train or playing a game to numb your brain?" The keeper of time asked her.
"A whole year? How could anyone do that?"
Take advantage of the free time you’re given in an infinitely busy society.