Resolutions for a new millennium

I began this article this evening much the same as I have now for the past four years, flipping through journals, peer review literature, reference material and the sometimes fluff trendy magazines related to the burgeoning field of alternative medicine. My friend's three teenagers are in the dinning playing Monopoly, (that part is different) the ''Star Wars Collector's Edition,'' complete with action figures.

I open one of my trendy fluff magazines, now sent to my office for free, and right there in front of me is an article about living more simply making reference to the first game of Monopoly invented in 1904! I think to myself a strange coincidence? Anyway, with further reading I discover the first Monopoly board had no space marked ''GO.'' Instead the first square was simply marked ''Mother Earth.'' The place to stop, rest or start. In 1934 when the game was patented that space was replaced by a large red arrow and the words ''GO!'' Collect $200 Salary as you pass.

Now everything is go -- and we keep going, and going, and going. It's even a catchy line made famous by a celebrated furry pink rabbit -- AKA the Energizer Bunny. We all laugh at the spots he gets himself into, but he always comes out unscathed and on the move.

But is it really so funny anymore? We live in a speedier society than ever before. At the edge of a new millennium, our lives rush past us in a blur. The Christmas season instead of being a joyous happy time is a time of major stress. If you don't think so, just come to my office for the rest of this week. You'd think we were running an emergency room, not an office for therapeutic massage!

In further research for this article, I found another study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health showing that a group of men and women, left to their own devices, initially slept for 14 hours a night and claimed at the end of three weeks that had never before had they known what it felt like to be fully rested and awake. Actually only about eight of those hours were spent in sleep, the other six were spent lying quietly resting between a state of waking and dreaming.

With our obsession to keep busy, to always have more, to increase our productivity and increase the GNP, we have left behind much of what is dear to us -- the joyful pleasures of living simply. Simplicity in living does not mean antitechnology. It doesn't mean discontinuing use of the telephone, computers, household appliances or living like a hermit on the top of some remote mountain. These devices can and do give us freedom from the redundant tasks that were once so time consuming.

Simplicity does require that we understand what technology is for, that we do not over use, abuse or only ''pursue'' the item. On the contrary this is a waste of money which is a form of energy. Which, in the long run is a waste of our time.

No one knows what the new millennium will hold for us, but just as we shouldn't waste or misuse technology, we shouldn't waste the precious gift of time. It is limited. Resolve to simplify. No time for simplification? Turn off the television for 20 minutes or give up half the time you spend reading a daily paper or surfing the net. Remember the choice of how you use or abuse you, your time is up to you. See you in the new year, Rebecca.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online December 28, 1999

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