Like what you've read?

On Line Opinion is the only Australian site where you get all sides of the story. We don't
charge, but we need your support. Here�s how you can help.

  • Advertise

    We have a monthly audience of 70,000 and advertising packages from $200 a month.

  • Volunteer

    We always need commissioning editors and sub-editors.

  • Contribute

    Got something to say? Submit an essay.

 The National Forum   Donate   Your Account   On Line Opinion   Forum   Blogs   Polling   About   
On Line Opinion logo ON LINE OPINION - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate


On Line Opinion is a not-for-profit publication and relies on the generosity of its sponsors, editors and contributors. If you would like to help, contact us.


RSS 2.0

Maybe we're going too fast!

By John E. Carey - posted Monday, 30 October 2006

For a long time I've suspected Western society moved just too fast. Recently a kindergarten teacher confirmed my suspicion. When I recounted happy memories about my own kindergarten experience, including "nap time", the teacher told me: "There isn't time for a nap anymore. We are getting these kids ready for life."

Now I understand why my generation is such a failure. Too much nap time.

The telephone may also be an indicator we are rushing toward unhappiness and stress. Ever hear anyone say, "Gotta get the other phone. Sorry. I'll call you back"?


Another favourite conversation killer is, "We're real busy here. Gotta go. Bye." Not only are these communications rude and grammatically incorrect, they indicate a warp speed psychology in our lives.

And mobile phones, unfortunately, are everywhere; allowing us to multiplex our minds and our lives. Phoning while driving. Phoning while eating. Talking on the mobile at a wedding. I've even recently observed fast food restaurant guests talking to each other across the table on their phones. Do we really need to communicate this much? Are we discussing Plato or the meaning of life? Not usually. We are often scheduling more work, explaining why we are late, or just wasting time and space on the frequency band.

We drive way too fast. Even while going to work, people cut in and out of lanes at a breathtaking pace. Are they late or can't they wait to get to work? One wonders. A recent survey reported the average American driver admits he takes dangerous risks behind the wheel to save precious time.

In suburbia the soccer Mums and Dads are notoriously overworked and on the run. The kids' schedules drive everyday life and especially the weekends. Soccer, ballet, Girl Scouts, Little League, the amusement park, trips to the shops and other activities mean some families have more than one SUV to handle the workload of transporting preteens to everything and everywhere. Kids have even been known to suffer nervous breakdowns because they are so overscheduled.

My best suburban family of friends recently drove three hours to a one-hour wedding and then three hours back so they could get to the next scheduled event.

We are in such a hurry to pack more into life that TV sitcom writers have added many more pages of additional script for a single episode than ever before. Fortunately, the robotlike actors can speak faster than my VCR on fast forward. This, of course, also means our children (not robots, these) now utter every sentence as if the house were on fire and they were making the 000 call. And the speed-talking on TV allows more life-enhancing commercials.


So if we didn't go this fast what would we miss? Or stated another way - why are we doing this and is it sane, normal and healthy? Does this life at the speed of sound give us better "quality of life"? More "family time"? More vacation? More money? Time to read a book? In most families, none of the above.

Usually we are just competing with other speed demons. Psychological pressure grows when we fear we can't keep pace and can't compete. Experts say the average white-collar worker fears for his job if he takes more than a week or two off at one stretch. This results in speedy weekend vacations with lots of driving and not much rest. Suburban parents often tell me little Judy or Tommy won't get into the best school if he doesn't pack more into "the early grades". No nap time for you slackers.

Statistics do not confirm that all this rushing to, during and after school is building a generation of geniuses. Family life isn't much improved either, surveys and statistics tell us. Families are more fractured, and a generation of single parents has exploded onto the scene and become an acceptable part of the norm.

  1. Pages:
  2. Page 1
  3. 2
  4. All

From a story first written by Mr Carey and published by The Washington Times on August 3, 2003.

Discuss in our Forums

See what other readers are saying about this article!

Click here to read & post comments.

5 posts so far.

Share this:
reddit this reddit thisbookmark with Del.icio.usdigg thisseed newsvineSeed NewsvineStumbleUpon StumbleUponsubmit to propellerkwoff it

About the Author

John E. Carey has been a military analyst for 30 years.

Other articles by this Author

All articles by John E. Carey

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Article Tools
Comment 5 comments
Print Printable version
Subscribe Subscribe
Email Email a friend

About Us Search Discuss Feedback Legals Privacy