The average human lifespan in the United States is 77, according the CDC. That works out to 4015 weeks, which is obviously wrong, or 28,105 days, which is even more obviously wrong.
Queen Elizabeth, who lived to be 96, was alive for 35,204 days—at least, that’s the case if you’re the sort of person who trusts math, which I’m not because that doesn’t sound like nearly enough time. All math must be wrong. Surely we all have millions of days to play with, at a minimum, and those who live longer have billions.
Think about it: if our lives are so short why do we spend so much time doing things we don’t want to, like working, cleaning, and responding to assholes on Twitter? We wouldn’t do those things if our lives were that short, therefore our lives must not be that short. The math is wrong.
Recently I’ve noticed a pattern. People who take longer than three minutes to respond to a message invariably begin their response with some kind of apology. I appreciate where the apologies are coming from—people don’t want to inconvenience me. At the same time, though, I think we should all stop apologizing for being offline.
In the past week people have apologized to me for crimes that include taking a walk, caring for children, and riding an airplane—all heinous acts that kept me from instantly knowing the answer to a question I had. Well-meaning as these apologies are, they all add to the cultural sense that if you’re not responding to messages instantly, you’re letting people down. We need to stop thinking that way.
Never apologize for being offline. Feel free to explain why it took an hour, or a day, or a week to reply, if you must, but do not apologize. Life is short. You’re allowed to do things that aren’t responding to emails and DMs. It’s not a crime. No one is mad at you for it.
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