Time Over Money: Rethinking the True Currency of Life

For over a decade, the concept of time has captivated my thoughts. As a teenager just turning 15, I began to question its use and management—how should I schedule my days, why does it always seem to slip away, and is it really possible to waste it or even create more? Now, at 27, these questions remain at the forefront of my mind. Over the years, I’ve explored various ways to optimize my time, seeking methods to manage and design my life to perhaps make time feel more abundant. The journey of understanding time's true value has been both challenging and enlightening.

Unlike most currencies, time is one that we cannot mint anew. We often equate money with time, yet I've come to realize that they are fundamentally different. While money is indeed a crucial currency in our society, it is not the only one, nor is it the most important. Through my reflections, I've concluded that time is the true currency of life—a resource that, once spent, cannot be replenished. Money, on the other hand, can be created. Contrary to the old saying, money does indeed grow on trees, in a manner of speaking. Money is primarily made from cotton, which is a plant. It might not hang from branches, but the metaphor stands to illustrate that with the right plans and actions, money can indeed be 'cultivated' and increased.

However, even with a well-structured financial plan and the right team to execute it, there are limits to what money can achieve—especially when it comes to buying time. The wealthiest individuals may possess vast resources, but like everyone else, they face the immutable barrier of time's finiteness. These mega-rich, scattered across our globe, often continue to toil incessantly. Many sacrifice their relationships with family and friends—sometimes without their loved ones even realizing it—in pursuit of more wealth. They believe that accumulating a certain amount of wealth will allow them to retire comfortably and finally spend time with their loved ones. Yet, they often find themselves trapped in a cycle where "time is money" becomes a mantra that justifies endless work, missing the point where they should instead capitalize on their accumulated wealth to enjoy life's truly valuable moments.

This common saying, "time is money," holds truth only up to a certain point. It is applicable when one's time has a direct market value, especially when not utilized efficiently. For instance, if you are not working when you could be, you're likely missing out on potential earnings. However, the perspective shifts dramatically when one considers that, unlike money, time spent cannot be earned back. If you have sufficient funds, you could delegate your responsibilities, allowing you to focus on what truly matters to you. This strategy, however, hinges on the continual availability of money. It's a delicate balance—using money to free up time, which is both non-renewable and invaluable.

Ultimately, the paradox of time is that it is both free and priceless. Consider the hypothetical scenario where you could pay to spend just one more hour with a loved one who has passed away—how much would that time be worth to you? Perhaps a thousand, a hundred thousand, or even a million dollars? Such thoughts can stir deep emotions and prompt us to reevaluate our current priorities. It's crucial to seize the moments with those we care about now, rather than deferring them to a future that may never come. We often fall into the trap of thinking we need more money and that we'll always have more time. This very belief could lead to profound regrets about not spending enough time with our spouse, children, family, and friends—truly priceless, irreplaceable treasures on this planet. Let us not wait until it's too late; the best time to cherish our relationships and life’s moments is now.

Randy Thiessen June 27, 2024
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