Blogger Tim Urban Says COVID-19 Stole Our Time But We Can Get It Back
02 Mar 2022
APB speaker and blogger Tim Urban has good news and bad news for us. And he recently shared it in a guest essay for The New York Times. In the article, Urban, who created the wildly popular illustrated blog “Wait But Why” and has become one of the Internet’s most popular writers discusses how COVID-19 stole our time and how we can get it back.
First, the tough news. Urban begins the essay with a chart, which he calls “depressing math.” The graphic illustrates a 90-year human life in weeks with one box for every week. That adds up to just a few thousand squares.
“Once you visualize the human life span, it becomes clear that so many parts of life we think of as ‘countless’ are in fact quite countable,” he says.
Urban illustrates this fact by guessing how many times he’ll be able to go to the movies or to his favorite museum. With the amount he normally attends each year, the totals are depressing: 12 more visits to the American Museum of Natural History and about 53 more movies at the theater, Urban estimates.
Even more concerning is the amount of time left to spend with family and friends, which has been cut even more because of the coronavirus. “Depressing Math reveals a cold truth: While you may not be anywhere near the end of your life, you may very well be nearing the end of your time spent with some of the most important people in your life,” Urban writes.
All is not lost, though. Urban gives a solution that can make the math not so gloomy. All of us can change course. “This is the good news about being a human,” he writes. “The time we have left with family and friends is not a law of nature like the weeks we have left to live. It’s a function of priorities and decisions.”
“The past couple of years has left us with a joy deficit,” Urban adds. “When we picture a post-COVID world, we imagine having our old lives back. But we can actually go a step further and make up for the missed experiences, flipping the deficit into a surplus. If COVID has given us anything, it’s a rare chance for a reset. Let’s take it.”