Following a luxurious three-day weekend away from work and school, it seems appropriate to post this link from AlterNet, “Slow Down: How Our Fast-Paced World Is Making Us Sick,” in which Linda Buzzell argues that ‘time poverty’ is endemic in contemporary culture:
Time poverty is now a recognized psychological and social stressor. In a speeded-up, highly complex society, there just isn’t enough time for everything: our demanding jobs, our interlocking bureaucratic responsibilities (taxes, insurance, legal issues), our loved one, kids, our community (including the rest of nature), plus commuting and keeping up with traditional media and endless 24/7 online communications. Constantly rushing to keep up as we inevitably fall further behind, we find ourselves destroying not only our own health, but our habitat and the habitat of the people, plants and animals with whom we share the planet.
Juggling two part-time jobs, a library science class, thesis preparation, and home life this summer has given me a lot of opportunity to think about the importance of fighting against the relentless pressure to be “productive” by external standards, and to fill my life with activities our culture assigns value to — rather than the activities that I actually find pleasurable, nourishing and productive in a deep life-affirming sense of creating a life worth living.
I don’t necessarily buy into the idea that those activities necessarily take place out-of-doors, away from technology, but I also recognize the importance of remembering that information technology is a resource not an entity demanding my constant attention or embodying some inherent moral value (positive or negative). I’ve realized over the last two years in graduate school that as someone going into library & information services, information overwhelm and the pressure to be plugged into sources of information 24/7 is going to be a constant pressure in my working life, and it will be important to establish boundaries — to make sure there are places in my life where that tidal wave of sensory input is not allowed to intrude — times and spaces where I have time for reflection, reconnection, and restoration.