March 2, 2020
I think we have all heard the saying about how we all have the same 24 hours in a day. While it is true that everyone has a 24 hour day. That is, after all, the definition of a day. However, I have a problem with this statement. I disagree very much with the idea that we all have the same 24 hours. We absolutely do not.
Does the widow who goes home to an empty house at the end of the day have the same 24 hours? No, she doesn't. She still has the same laundry to do, same household chores to do, same cooking, same things to do as a married couple. The problem is, she doesn't have someone to help. She doesn't have someone to help call the repair man, unload the dishwasher, or take out the trash. She doesn't have someone to split the chores with her so she has to squeeze in all the same household work in her 24 hours as a married couple.
Does the single parent have the same 24 hours as the married parent? No. Again, the single parent has all the same homework, cooking dinner, making lunches, doing the laundry, transporting the kids, etc. as a family with two parents. The single parent has to do everything alone, while the two parents can share the load.
Does the young college student have the same 24 hours as the elderly man in the nursing home? No. The college student attends classes, works a part time job, is only responsible for caring for himself. His responsibilities are relatively few and he has the time and ability to go have fun with his friends. He can fill his free time however he wishes by simply going and doing as he pleases. His days pass quickly but his years ahead are long. The elderly man is a little different. He also has few responsibilities at this stage, doesn't work, and is only responsible for himself. The difference is he is also reliant on others to help him with this care. He is reliant on someone else's schedule for meeting his needs. If he wants to see his friends, he is reliant on them coming to him or someone helping to make a visit happen. His days are long but his years ahead are short. They do not have the same 24 hours.
I realize it's just a saying. However, the saying rubs me the wrong way. Yes, we all have 24 hours in a day. But, no...we do not all have the same 24 hours. I dare say we all have very different days. I'm relatively sure my 24 hours looks different than yours and visa versa.
Why is this important? Maybe we need to consider this idea when we judge people for not having something done we think they should. Maybe we need to consider this when the single mom doesn't return a note to school on time. Maybe we need to consider this when a co-worker seems frazzled. We might not know what their 24 hours looks like. We only know our own. Be kind.