Consider, traffic. It represents the absence of choice. I could have left at 9pm, but I had to leave at 6pm. But why, you say? I have a family to attend to – being stuck in traffic for 2 hours and 15 minutes and getting home at 8:15 is better than travelling for 45 minutes and getting home at 9:45 – I’d hardly have time for my son then! But why not leave at 4? I don’t get out of work until 5:30, I can’t. Why don’t you move closer to where you work? I can’t afford to live in the area. Why don’t you get a better paying job? I wouldn’t get payed as much if I lateraled to another office.
It’s inevitable – to sit in traffic and not think of the horrible black hole of wasted time one is subjected to. Traffic inspires bouts of existentialism, and perhaps, the worst kind. The desire to be somewhere else grows more intense as the speedometer falls from 75 to 65, 55 to 40, and sometimes 0. It is time wasted that irks many – the prospect of enjoying activity A or activity B, activity C, D, or E, but being forced to make due with sitting in variable X, also known as our friend, traffic.
I was sitting today – in traffic – and told a friend that I didn’t enjoy unearned leisure time. Very rarely do I ever feel myself deserving of leisure time. Friends have asked me what keeps me going, what inspires me, and even I’ve had a difficult time verbalising the bouts of excitement that consume me when I feel that I’m working on something worthwhile. I usually look back on these discussions, and even ask myself, what is worthwhile?
I am a mercantilist. Not of exotic goods, rubies, gold, or other precious resources. I am a mercantilist of time. I believe that time is the derivative of, and solution to, all problems. Time is the key to knowledge, and the pursuit of knowledge is the essence of life. How one applies said knowledge is at the discretion of the beholder, but it signifies a very different thing to me.
For most of my life, I’ve been privileged all that I’ve wanted, and I’ll that I’ve needed. I’ve hardly endured hardship, and have been well off for the most part. I recall my family’s meagre beginnings, but these memories have only set the stage for a distinct understanding of the concept of upward mobility that has shaped most of my perspective on the world today. My background privileges me the opportunity to consider my life choices with a more critical eye. From being the son of a pizza delivery driver to a successful business owner, I can vividly recall the distinction between having a lot and having a little. While I’ve been lucky to observe a dynamic notion of changing circumstance, a constant remains – my family has always been happy, no matter our material wellbeing.
I’m hard on myself because I know what my parents put themselves through to get where they are now. I remember my mom wrapping my dad in all the blankets we had in our one bedroom apartment because my dad was suffering from pneumonia and could not take time off from work. I remember celebrating a birthday at McDonalds, despite having wealthy relatives who were willing to help provide me with a more ostentatious birthday display, because my parents were adamant to provide me with only what existed in their means. I remember the joy on my mothers face when she eagerly realized that her first born son was about to graduate college … in America.
I have a different understanding of the concept of what happiness is because of my upbringing. Happiness isn’t a place, or a material satisfaction. It is not an escape from reality, nor exultation from despair, but rather, a reason to move forward towards an intended future. Happiness should not be considered in terms of a finite place in time, because happiness is not a destination. Happiness is not the essence of finding the question worth most answering in life. Happiness is engaging in the pursuit of asking as many questions as possible, with the little time we have.
Legends are remembered precisely because of a willingness to venture off where no other person was prepared to. These individuals shared a willingness to assume the reins of the vanguard at the helm of the void of uncertainty. What they had in common was a willingness to ask what most people were not willing.
When we consider the concept of time, it is, like money, worth more today than it is tomorrow. Time in had today is time invested. With time, one privileges oneself the opportunity to ask questions, venturing off towards a a path of discovery. In the spirit of Rousseau, I believe that society shapes man, and only when man understands his relationship with society can he reach his fundamental being – his natural goodness. Most questions people asked are defined by auxiliary influences. This ranges from societal prestige to wealth in resources, encompassing a wide range of contexts and cultures.
The essence of man exists in improving the state of mankind. From the sciences to politics, to business and academia, each successful pursuit involves living on the next curve at the edge of innovation. The present day represents the compounding of human triumph and achievement. Innovation drives society because few pursuits trump the nobility of contributing to the advancement of mankind. The beauty of innovation exists in contributing to the discourse in the long history concerning the triumph of mankind.