Spending Your Time Wisely – Cash or Credit?

Savoring life!
Savoring life!

Life rarely affords us the perfect circumstances – so why are we so often in a state of perpetual waiting? We wait for weather to change, we wait for financial circumstances to change, we wait for the moment of “feeling like it,” we wait for other people in our lives “to come around,” and all the while the clock is diligently beating with shameless disregard for what may or may not pass. Time – it is without emotion. It is without a brain or a heart. Relentlessly it marches on with or without us. Yet, if we truly learned to view time just as we view currency, would we make decisions about how we “spend” our time differently? If we made decisions with a sense of whether or not the time investment would appreciate or depreciate, might we spend our time more wisely?

After celebrating 58 years on our planet Earth this year and spending plenty of thought reflecting upon the New Year, I am all too aware of the rate at which time passes. In fact, my thoughts are consumed with better understanding and grasping the passage of time. I am doing the math. I want to harness time in the best possible way.  My husband Cliff and I met only four short years ago. We are both in good health – better than most. We both eat relatively healthfully and exercise – more than most. The longevity gene is certainly in my favor, not as favorably for my husband. Since I have both the gift and curse of being pragmatic, I know that realistically even with all odds in our favor, my husband and I are probably looking at enjoying potentially about twenty good years together, before our physical and mental capacities start impacting the lifestyle we both hope to continue to share together. Twenty years. From a young person’s view it is an eternity. From a middle age perspective, it is all too short.

Time – it is one of the few things in life that is dished out fairly to all of us.  24 hours a day, every day, our time is sliced and diced according to our wills, desires, motivations, or lack thereof. Oh yes, some of us end up getting more days than others as it turns out. But it is a Wild Card for the vast majority of us. Maybe the ultimate Wild Card!  One never really knows when we will make the final time withdrawal from our life bank account. Most of the time, we choose to basically ignore this Wild Card.

I realize the best possible resolution I can make this year is to learn to view time as a key source of wealth in my life that needs to be respected, managed, and expended frugally. Normally I don’t like the word “frugal.” It conjures up unpleasant thoughts – it implies being meager, stingy, and scrimping… just getting by. Yet, my husband and I want to live fully and with a sense of abundance, and to accomplish this we must be frugal with our time. So it is a curious set of contradictions. To experience a life of great abundance, we must carefully and with great conscience, withdraw time units from the fixed pocketbook of life. We MUST budget our time wisely! Practically – what does this mean?

I have no tolerance for things that waste my time. I used to measure my life in about 20 minute increments. Now, even one solitary minute gets my attention.  Should I take the time to zip my make-up bag before I toss it in the drawer? Before watching a movie, I want to know how long it is – exactly.  Anything over an hour and a half is a serious challenge as to whether or not the moments of my life it will consume will be worth it.  Even sleeping-in now becomes a form of robbery.

To really stick to any resolution, I know that a high level of discipline will be involved. As I seek to protect my time units as an experienced adult, I have come to realize that the more I define this, the more I plan ahead for the inevitable distractions and roadblocks I will likely encounter, the more I know I can better develop a game-plan, and the more likely I will succeed in my efforts.  Creating a visual image helps to encrypt this vision in my brain. What if I physically had to open a container filled with units of time currency and was asked to dispense these throughout the day? Most of us are simply and mindlessly swiping a credit card when it comes to charging our life activities and experiences. But what if I could see these units dwindling away as the day progressed? Would this help me better set my priorities?  Might I say “no” or “yes” to any given situation with greater understanding and sobriety of the consequences involved?

Are most people just blissfully ignorant of the value of Time Currency??  I have heard it said you can learn a lot about who a person is just by the way they handle money, how they organize it, dispense it, and in general just value it.  Can the same be said about the way one handles time? We can never beat the clock – but we can learn to keep pace with it. I want to maximize my time left on this planet. I pledge that going forward, I will be an even better steward of this non-renewable resource – TIME – the stuff of which LIFE is made! It is really a simple question of priority, because whatever it is I choose to do on a given day – I am exchanging a day of my life for it.

We all regret poor uses of time in our lives. Going forward is all that matters now. If we can wrap our heads around that fact that learning to see Time as the currency of life is the single most productive resolution we can make in our lives, we can  experience a more mindful and present way of living. As a middle-aged individual that has come to respect the value of time currency, I say ENJOY the journey everyone and spend your time wisely! Like the modern day budget gurus, I suggest you use cash instead of your credit card! 😉

One thought on “Spending Your Time Wisely – Cash or Credit?”

  1. This is an excellent reminder of the scarcity of our time and how critical it is to consciously choose how, and with whom, we spend the days. The classic question asks us: “Are you making a living or making a dying?”. Your post has reinvigorated my sense of urgency toward life; not one of panic nor of anxiety but rather a renewed resolve to maximize what we have! Thank you –

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