Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Per Diem Life

“I just want to wake up with more hours on my hand than in the day.”  Imagine a world where your time “turns on” when you reach 25 and you get enough time for 1 year.  When your time expires you expire.  Oh, and your time is displayed in a countdown clock on your forearm and everything you do costs time (not money).  Gives new meaning to the phrase, “time is money”.

What would it be like to live in a world ruled by time where the rich buy and sell time on the open market and profit off the trade, while those less fortunate are forced to steal, beg, or work more for less?  Shouldn’t time and life be an equally distributed commodity?  Would I waste 4 minutes of my finite life on a cup of coffee?  Pay 2 hours for a bus ride or 1 month to ride in a limo?  Separate classes of people exist and don’t intersect.  The people in the ghetto usually have enough time for today and must work to be paid in additional hours find themselves running from place to place – walking and waiting are not a good thing when your time is running out.  The affluent lead a much slower paced life, without the urgency of impending death in the next 200 years.   

It made me wonder if we can really truly live our lives if we don’t appreciate the finite end to our time.  Without a sense of urgency, do we take our time for granted and barely move through life?  Does the trust that tomorrow will always be on the horizon lead us into complacency?  What if tomorrow was unknown?  Would we do things differently?  I know I would certainly care about different things.  I wouldn’t let everyday annoyances affect my life to the same degree they do now. 

What would I do for time?  Where would my morality and need for survival intersect?  What would I do for a loved one whose time was running out?  I’ve never considered myself a very materialistic person.  Sure I love nice things (especially if they sparkle), but there are several lines I know I would not cross in order to get more money.  I can live without money, but not without time. So if I found myself or a loved one running short on time, what would I be capable of? 

Would it be better to live with one day, knowing you had only one day? What about the fear you experience when you see your life measured in minutes and seconds rather than in years?  People often ask if I want to know when I will die.  My answer is always no.  It’s enough to live knowing that I will die someday (hopefully not today).  My hope for tomorrow is a driving force in my life.  What if that hope was removed?  Would I be brave enough to face my short life or would I do anything to ensure immortality?

Would I be brave enough to love?  Or would I love more?

How would my life and my actions change if I knew I only had today?  After all, how much more than one day does one really need?  One day filled with love and connection may make up for a lifetime of loneliness and isolation.  Since we don’t know if we have a tomorrow, we may think about living our lives per diem.  Not necessarily living like there’s no tomorrow, but living like tomorrow is uncertain. 

One can live forever without ever living a day.  That’s not the existence I want for me.  I want to live with the hope for tomorrow and the love of today.   After all, how do you put a price on a life?

By the way, if this sounds familiar it’s because it’s the plot to a movie called, “In Time”, with Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried.  Definitely worth checking out!

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