I came to this realization after waiting at the Dunkin Donuts drive thru for more than 3 minutes. That’s right, I came to a realization that in my effort to be more efficient with my time and using the drive thru, I was grossly inconvenienced by having to wait – for just THREE MINUTES.
We’re always in a rush, and always on the go. Society is designed to encourage this. It may be some greater consumer conspiracy, or it may be the gross misgivings of our failing modernized society. The fact of the matter is that we Americans pay for convenience because we are consumed by the mindset that convenience makes for more productive and better use of our time, hence we either save or make more money. While in some cases this may be true, the added stress of running this rat race is probably not worth it in the long run. Consider this..we run the race for about 50 years, only to look forward to maybe 20 years enjoying life. It just doesn’t add up.
I spend most of my work week on the road, a subaquatic vagabond if you will. What little time I spend above water, the thought of taking an hour or two to run errands, cook meals, or what have you doesn’t seem justifiable, so I end up consumed with planning my time to maximize superficial convenience. In the end however a certain quality of life is lost.
By contrast, when I coordinate a remote expedition, or spend months on end in the field, logistics are well calculated in advance, allowing for more focused productivity while on location. This is out of necessity in most cases, as the convenience infrastructure is not in place to support a day by day subsistence. While in the field, I tend to be more relaxed and find more enjoyment in my work – and its the same amount of work…its just that the rat race has been removed. My first lessons in this came from my time on Lee Stocking Island in the Bahamas. Large cargo and grocery shipments were accessible on a monthly schedule at best. The logistics and coordination were carried out well in advance, and time on the island could be spent working, rather than worrying about the next truck stop.
American retailers have capitalized on consumer convenience – or the perception of buying time day to day.
I often consider the quality of life we will have when living beneath the sea. My suspicions are that it will mirror the Lee Stocking model, with well orchestrated logistics in place in advance, allowing the undersea dwellers to focus on critical life systems and carrying out daily missions. That being said, the Aquatica of tomorrow will need to adopt social and economic structures that do anything but resemble today’s rat race.
We should all consider not only daily efficiencies, but step back once in awhile and put what we are working towards in better perspective. Perhaps taking lengthy breaks or even mini-retirements to recalculate the next step are the way to go – spending more time consumed by quality of life, rather than consumer convenience, where the daily inefficiencies are clouded by the perception of efficiency.