Breathe.

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

Why do we obsess over speed?

Why do we want to be the first? The best?

When is it enough?

When do we stop and take a moment? Never?

62% of all video ads last less than 20 seconds. No one has time.

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

Why are we always in a hurry? Technology was promised to be the harbringer of leisure. The path to freedom from labor. Yet, today, we work longer than people did in the Middle Ages. Is this the cost of progress?

The cost of social media. Our lives aren’t ours anymore. They’re derivative of the lives of others. Friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances, exes. Social media blurs the lines. Our lives are a collage. A collage of the lives lived by our “friends” on social media. Each is determined to outdo the other.

The art of illusions is not new to us. Yet, everyone is a master at The Prestige now. Illusions. The illusion of perfection that we chase.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

Indeed. How could we? We’re too busy. Our Instagram must outdo theirs. Duh.

Are we living in the space age? The digital age? Neither. We’re living in the Notification Age. What is the most identifiable sound of the 21st century?

The ping of a notification is ubiquitous today. No one is safe.

As kids, we’re taught to resist peer pressure. As adults, we strive to teach our kids to resist peer pressure. Yet, we succumb to it, embrace it even as it comforts our weary soul. Being overwhelmed is comforting. Why? Because we never have time.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

Time makes fools out of us. Time makes us think. We hate to think. We are in the era of doing. How can we think while others do? How indeed, will we be the first? The best?

No longer is humanity one. We’re all individuals. Curiously connected yet in our own chasms of loneliness. We were meant to come together. We were meant to help each other. Now, we only compete. We’re all individuals yet we lack an identity. Our identity derives from those with whom we compete.

Life became a competition. It’s no longer enough to win. Others must lose. We must be better. We must be the best. It’s no longer enough to get there. We must be there before anyone else. We must take that amazing picture. We must tell everyone how awesome our lives are(Ha, suckers). We must have more likes than Brittany does. More followers. More Impressions. More Retweets. More.

We don’t have time to breathe. We’re too busy doing what we have to do to even consider what we should or could do.

We work to get ahead. We get ahead to work more. And now, in a rapidly changing world, we’ve been told to “re-skill” and “upskill”. Be on the move. You dare not stop and stare. You dare not let up. Because you, my friend will be left behind.

And so, from his grave, where he rests peacefully, at last, William Henry Davies chuckles ruefully and opines,

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

Indeed.

Engineer. Optimist. Liberal.