Ever noticed that you use the same words for the concept of time as for money?
We spend time, invest our time, waste time and save it. We talk about time as a currency. Because it is a currency.
“Time is the coin of your life,” says Carl Sandburg.
But for this coin there's no banking app to tell you how much is left.
You don’t know how much time you will get in life and, I’m sorry to say, you have no control over the flow of time. Money you can stop spending when your reserves are getting low. But not time.
Time waits for no one.
A scary thought, but think of it this way: something is valuable only when it’s rare. If diamonds would fall out of the sky like rain, engagement rings would not look the way they do. And if you would live forever, you wouldn’t value your time at all.
It would be much scarier if you had no say in how your time is spent. But you do. How you spend your time is entirely up to you.
My advice is simple: Spend your time consciously. Living with full awareness is a practice that lets you experience each moment much deeper. Combine that with consciously choosing what you do with your time and you'll get a new perspective on the flow of time.
Life is generous. It will give you many options. So choose to spend your time on something that will make you feel happy, according to your own definition of happiness.
Time, money and happiness.
Time is one of the big currencies you can spend on your happiness. Money is another.
You can spend your time to make money, or money to win time. You can use money to buy happiness or exchange your happiness for money - as many of us do. And you can spend your time to be happy or let go of happiness to win time, for example by giving up a time-consuming hobby that you love. It happens more than you think.
You and only you can find the right balance between these flows.
Will you spend the time you have making money to buy things that will make you happy? It is a totally valid choice, for example to spend your time working hard to make enough money to provide security for your family.
But don’t forget about the more direct route that often gets ignored. The time you have, could be spent being happy. Time generally has a much better happiness return on investment than money.
For me, it's as simple as deciding I will spend my evening reading. I could work more, do my admin, cook elaborate meals, meet up with friends, but some nights I know I will be happiest when I’m reading.
What's your balance?
There is no one size fits all solution. You should find a balance that works for you. Ask yourself these questions:
- What does happiness mean to you?
- What do you need to create more of this happiness?
- How can you spend your time and money to acquire what you need for happiness?
Be honest with yourself.
With these insights, you can spend your time and money more consciously. It’s not selfish to choose to walk your own path. When you do, you’ll agree with Seneca the younger, who said:
“Life is long enough [...] if it were all well invested.”
Wishing you a great time today!