When I was in my early 20s, I remember hearing about how we all have the same 24 hours in a day, therefore we make time for what we want. I used to look to this idea as a way to motivate myself to plan out my day in a way that I can reach my goals. But in recent years with my new experiences, I’ve learned that not everyone has the luxury or ability to do what they want in those 24 hours. It’s actually quite ableist and classist to assume that people choose to live a certain way. I’ll explain why.

Some people are accustomed to living with certain luxuries in their life. We may feel as if everyone should have access to clean water, heating, healthy food, a loving home, etc. But realistically, this is just not the case. Some people live in areas where clean water is lacking, and they don’t have access to technologies such as cars, delivery, computers, etc. You and I may just access clean water by turning on the tap, or we may even drink out of bottled waters that we bought from the store. But, some people have to walk miles barefoot just to access water, which might not even be clean. They may spend a whole day going back and forth collecting water for their family to use over the next few days. And, there may not really be an easy solution for them. These people may not have good education where they are living, and they may not have good opportunities to earn money or to barter in general. They may not be in a position to move, because of citizenship, of war, of no means to do so, etc. I mean, what would you do if you were in this situation? It’s not like you can start a GoFundMe when you have no computer, no literacy, no knowledge of what that even is, no bank account to even receive the funds… What if you didn’t even know you could access these things? What if you didn’t realize that tap water even existed?

There are also people who face illnesses every day. Some are visible, some are not. Some illnesses require a lot from a person every day. Some people have to sleep a lot more than the average person because of their medications or their illnesses in general. Some people have to see doctors, nurses or therapists on a regular basis to maintain their health. Some people spends hours filing insurance claims for their health expenses. Some people are unable to work a regular job because of their condition. Do you think that these people wouldn’t want to spend their time in a different way if they had a choice? Who decides that they want to get bloodwork done every week just to make sure their meds aren’t messing up their white blood count? In one sense, yes, they want to make sure they’re alright. But, the ideal situation would be not to have to worry about these things at all. Some people don’t want to sleep 12 hours a day, and yet they find themselves doing this because of their new medication, or because they have some type of disorder. If you don’t have to worry about tending to sickness in general, honestly, you are privileged. Not everyone is as lucky as you. I’m not saying this to make you feel bad. It’s just you have to recognize that not everyone is in the same position to choose what they do in a day.

The point I’m trying to make is to not just assume that people choose what to do with their time. You never really know. Of course, I’m all for helping people to realize their potential. But, I never push someone to do something unless they make it clear to me that it is something they want and are ready for as well. Everyone has different priorities depending on where they are in life and what they value. I’ve always wanted to start my own business or to basically be self-employed, but I realize that this kind of lifestyle is not for everyone. Some people actually like having a job or being part of a company. We value different things, and there’s no point in judging each other. It’s not like one of us is doing something harmful. (Well, unless you’re working for Monsanto I guess…)