A large yellow school bus comes to an abrupt stop, flashers on and a stop sign attached to a long arm swings out blocking on coming traffic. The door opens and a six-year-old boy jumps off the bottom step of the bus, barely clearing a mud puddle and runs up the walk to his house. He crashes through the front door exited to be home, and skips up to his father.
"Hey dad, what are you doing?" He asks.
"Why I'm doing what I usually do son. I'm playing video games." Hi thumbs busily working small toggles on the game remote. Sounds of gunfire blare from the flat screen television hanging on the wall.
"That's really cool dad and you’re really good. When I grow up I want to be just like you." The dad smiles proud and plays on with know interruption.
The child then walks into the other room and notices his mom curled up on the couch watching TV. "Hi mom, what are you doing?" He asks.
"I'm watching TV son, just like I do everyday when I get home from work."
"That's cool mom. I want to be just like you when I grow up."
A few hours go by and the father finally gets up from playing his video games. He approaches the boy’s mother. "What's for dinner Hun? I'm starved."
His wife just glares back at him and refuses to be pulled away from her TV program. "Can't you see I'm watching my show? How rude.”
"Don't you mean your shows? You've been watching TV since you've got home. How can I not interrupt?"
"And what have you been doing? Looking through the want ads for a better job?” She says somewhat sarcastically. “No you've been playing those ridiculous video games for hours. You fix dinner!" She snaps back. Head turned towards the set.
The child watches on as dad angrily breaks away and turns towards the kitchen, only to return to his video games with a half eaten bag of potato chips and an ice-cold beer.
"I'm hungry too mom." The little boy says after witnessing that very uncomfortable spat.
"Oh alright. As soon as this is over I will make you something. Okay?"
What choice does the child have anyway? After all, the boy is barely tall enough to reach the kitchen counter. The boy turns and joins his father and steals a few chips for himself.
Almost an hour later the mom interrupts the guys, now playing video games together. "Dinners ready." She announced and returns to the TV in the other room while she quickly flips through a stack of unpaid bills she got in the mail. She shrugs her shoulders and tosses them aside. The bills can wait. Half of them are probably late anyway what’s a couple more days going to hurt.
About a half hour later the boys tear themselves away from the game that they were playing and enter the kitchen to find cold macaroni and cheese on the stove. They scoop some onto their plates, lightly microwave the noodles, grab a couple of drinks, another beer for him and a juice box for the boy and rush back the video game that they left on pause.
Several hours later the typical evening winds down and they call it a day. The father sent the boy to bed around 10pm because he has to get up early for school the next day. The mom comes to bed after the 11:00 o'clock news and the father follows shortly after. Before they knew it the alarm goes off again and again. After the fourth time of hitting snooze, the mom gets up and drags her son out of bed. “Time for school little man.” She says. The boy plays sick and wants to stay home. He doesn’t like school. Forehead feels fine; he’s going to school. She lies back down until the snooze alarm rings one more time. Both mom and dad drag themselves out of bed this time.
The dad passes by the boy’s room and notices the boy still in bed. “Get your butt out of bed boy, you’re going to be late.” He bellows running his fingers through his bed head, hair sticking on end. He grabs a baseball cap, pulls on some jeans and a t-shirt with some rock band printed on it.
The mom rushes to get her son ready before he misses the bus. No time for breakfast once again. She pushes him out the door. Off to school he goes. The mom and dad leave shortly after to go to their jobs that hardly pays their bills and that neither one of them enjoys. Another morning successfully orchestrated with the parents being fashionably late to their jobs once again.
This is a typical day in the US of A as this scenario repeats itself five out of the seven days of the week. The only changes are on Saturday and Sunday when the family have even more time to waste in front of what is known as the "idiot-box."
By the time an average person in today’s world reaches the age of sixty, he or she would have sat in front of the television (the idiot box) playing video games and/or watching your favorite sitcoms, sports, soaps, news or reality shows for fifteen straight years with no breaks. Doing the math with the average life span of seventy years means that the average person would have wasted almost 1/4 of his or her life.
When I heard these statistics in a book I was reading, I felt they were staggering and couldn't possibly be true. After researching it myself I found them to be quite accurate.
We all share more than this in common though, we all make excuses day after day and say more often than not that “we don’t have time to do the things we like doing.” Weather it's work related, hobby related or something else. We always say "we don't have time," or "Sure if there were more hours in the day." We've heard them all and we've all said them, me included.
I know the first thing your going to say is "Dan, I like watching TV and I enjoy playing video games." All I have to say to that is this; I hope you have a job that you really enjoy, that supports you and your family well. I hope you have reached all your goals and have used up all of your potential. I hope you are happy and proud of the legacy you’ll be leaving behind. If this is the case, this story isn’t about you.
I used TV for this essay simply because the ratings and the numbers were readily available and are pretty accurate for the average person living in the US. Myself, I don't watch much TV and I'm sure that this doesn't apply to everyone, so please don’t be upset. This may not be about you either, only you can decide that. But we all have our crutches, we all do things that are pretty meaningless and are simply a waste of time. We all can probably manage our time a little better, enjoy life a little more and find the time to do things that we really love doing.
“Lets stop with the excuses already.” Life is short, sometimes shorter than we realize and at times cut off short unexpectedly. We all need to make time to do the things we enjoy and pick jobs that we enjoy doing. There’s time for everything.
If this story does apply to you, think of what you could accomplish in fifteen years time?
“Not enough time” is a pretty lame excuse not to do what you want to do in life.
Lets get motivated, be an example to our youth and as always…
"Follow your dreams!"
It’s time for me to run. I have more stories to write, more paintings to paint, and many more books I would like to read…
P.S. Need even more time? By getting yourself up out of bed one hour earlier each day will give you fifteen extra full days a year, to spend however your like. It’s like giving your self a two-week vacation, or an extra fifteen days to accomplish something special.
“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.”~ Robert Browning
This story is a work of fictional literature, any resemblance or similarities to places, or real persons, living or dead, purely coincidental.