This morning I discovered an acronym I hadn't encountered previously, NETTEL. I was having a cuppa in a cafe in the main street and looking through today's newspaper. I came across a topical article, the tendency of many time poor parents to buy extravagant Christmas presents to compensate for spending little time with their children. These parents are examples of NETTELs, those with Not Enough Time To Enjoy Life.
NETTELs don't have time to smell the roses. Image:Marie Vonow
On my return home I googled Not Enough Time To Enjoy Life. The Urban Dictionary provided a definition.
NETTEL refers to 'very busy couples and families' who usually have -
their home in a capital city
'relatively expensive lifestyles'
long working hours
a long commute to their workplace
Although the definition makes reference to couples and families, I think there are single people who fall into the NETTEL category too.
The acronym was coined by Bernard Salt, an Australian demographer, writer and public speaker. He says this group is growing at the rate of 7% per year.
There is no denying an increasing number of people are spending long hours at work these days. Work may be interesting and challenging for some people but they don't have enjoyable social and creative activities to provide life balance.
Some have many social commitments but they may not be enjoying these. Perhaps most of their social activities are work based and not providing a proper break from their employment. The pressure of too many activities and always keeping an eye on the time may be destroying the potential fun. Also, some people are always doing something and don't put aside time for relaxing and doing nothing.
I imagine many NETTELs get into this lifestyle without realising it is happening. Step by step their work hours increase. Taking on a mortgage ties them to their job. Perhaps monthly repayments increase. They buy more conveniences to save them time and these cost money which means they need to earn more. They may feel a need to keep up with the Jones's. Perhaps they get a promotion. Travel may be involved in their job and this means even more time away from family.
Balance is needed to maintain good health and get the most out of life. Taking the time to enjoy life is a necessity rather than an indulgence. It is important to 'take time to smell the roses'.
Children benefit from spending time with their parents and parents gain a lot from listening to their children and 'hanging out' as a family. The childhood years pass so quickly.
It's amazing what adults recall about their childhood and what memories are precious to them. Picnics, movies watched together, day trips, sleeping in the lounge room on hot summer nights (only room with air conditioning), cooking together, playing card games and such can all be part of those memories. Some of these activities cost nothing.
The benefits for parents include having a good relationship with their children, reducing stress and a chance to recharge their batteries.
What is the point of life if you don't make time to enjoy it?
I love this article Marie. I know that I can get so caught up in what society believes achievement to founded upon - such as income, status etc. As you mentioned in our endeavours to 'keep up with the Jones', we may lose sight of what we truly value - family, pets, friends. As you so perceptively mentioned, I don't think we know we are doing it, but in a society which praises 'climbing the ladder' we may forget what truly matters to us. Also, I think taking time to 'smell the roses' provides a chance for refreshment and renewed vigour which we need to sustain for 'the busy life'.
I loved this! Justine
Thanks, Justine. I think it takes a conscious effort to 'allow' oneself to take time to relax and also to spend enough time with those we value (including our pets as you said). Sometimes those activities can be undervalued or we may even feel guilty about not working even harder than we already do.