What consists of time well spent?
Baking cookies for the grand-kid? Shopping? All ten seasons of 'Stargate SG-1' ?
Or are these all merely funneled into the Cuisinart of Life to make an Existential Smoothie?
How about service to one's Art?
I used to wonder how someone could spend an entire career on a soap—30 years as a hair-puller—but now it seems not so strange, since it includes all the extras: sudoku on the set, indigestion between takes, hours in the makeup chair, the artificial Family. Being with people you didn't know, until at parting you feel the wrench of sadness.
Maybe the built-in relationships like real Family get you an exemption from making an effort; the time spent with them really is reinforcement of ancestral gridlock.
Truthfully, a day with 4 year old grandson is getting more & more just like having another person to hang out with while you do whatever hits your fancy. The three of us within a few feet of each other, absorbed in our own worlds: Ap=sports, Nam=Netflix, Jake=humming 'London bridge is falling down' whilst keeping the monsters off the bed & Blankie out of the freezing water/boiling lava on the floor.)
If I magically transport my mother into this picture, for her it would become I believe just another example of the failure of American society to rear children in a manner that trains them to become critical observers of their society.
Where are the colored pencils & ruler & tablet of paper? Discussions over pretty leaves picked off the sidewalk? Introductions to the as-yet untapped world of Spirituality?
Fixing this problem would be all-encompassing; once you acknowledge it as a problem then (according to some people) you have to fix this. Entering the realm of Sisyphus (and I'm not sure my generation is willing to go for that; I'm relatively certain that my sons' generation isn't having any o' that shit), it seems as though we are cursed: as Americans, we are fatally flawed.
Cue video game.
But wait! I've just proved my point: brainless activity leads to more brainless activity.
Reading French cures this.