I don't normally care much for science fiction movies, but today I watched the sci-fi movie, In Time. It was the most fascinating movie I've seen in a long time. The film is about a future society in which people age only to 25 years, then must earn more time or else die in one year. The amount of time left for each person is displayed on an implant on their lower arm. Money is also replaced by time as the society's currency. People work to earn more time to live, and time earned is used to pay for goods and services. Time can be borrowed (much like a monetary loan), but when a person's clock reaches zero, they die instantly. It gives entirely new meaning to the phrases "time is money" and "time well spent".
The movie uses many other clever play on words, such as Time Share (the name of a bank), time zones (different cities), timekeepers (law enforcement), and timing out (dying). There is much more to the plot, and many twists and turns, but I'll not spoil it for those who have not seen it.
As I was watching, the notion of time as a commodity was intriguing. Although it is obvious that most things in the movie would never occur in reality, it's still interesting to wonder what it would be like, and how different our lives would be, if time was earned and we could know and see exactly how much time we have left to live. This would come with advantages and disadvantages, of course. For one, it would drastically change how we use our time and, more importantly, prevent us from taking it for granted. I think of how we all (including myself) take time for granted by choosing to sleep too much rather than enjoy the day, watch TV rather than spend time with our spouse or friends, or work too much rather than go home to our children. We are all guilty at times of not having our priorities in order, but if we are more mindful of how limited our time really is, those priorities would probably change very quickly. It may sound like something from The Jetsons, but perhaps it would benefit us all if we occasionally looked down at our arm and imagined that it displayed how much time we have left to live...the days, hours, minutes, and seconds quickly ticking away. Then decide accordingly what you will do with your time that day, and use it wisely as if your clock is soon reaching zero and "timing out".