I mean it. It’s no fucking cliché. Our TIME is the most precious thing we have. Time is life. Giving yourself time, making time a priority before anything else if completely fucking life changing.
My main goal in my new lifestyle revolves around the idea that FREEDOM equals my TIME – and it’s my number one priority to protect it by being extremely intentional with how I use it.
Too often we give up our time freely, give in to the status quo of being time-poor, and work our asses off to only end up struggling to stuff everything we want into our limited “free time”.
What if life didn’t have to be that way? What if we are the ones who decide how we spend our time – literally, how we SPEND it. Just like our money – society tries to tell us how to spend that too. We’re so used to the “way it is” that we’ve lost the sense of empowerment and ownership of our lives; in the money we “need” and the way we “need” to spend our time to get said money to pay for the things that are paramount to our existence.
Time is the price you pay every day, for everything you decide to do. It’s not just about your “free time” – you are choosing how to spend every moment of your life. It doesn’t always feel like it; it can be easy to fall into the trap of believing we are being forced to “give up” our time – that we are helpless victims in this life where the only thing we can possibly control is how we use our two weeks vacation. There’s a belief that the choices we get to make around living out our values only falls into the category of the “life” section of “work/life balance” – and since that time is already super limited due to external circumstances, we are let off the hook with making many decisions when it comes to that time too.
The illusion that we don’t have autonomy when it comes to our own lives and how we spend the time we have, is a powerful one that many people struggle with. Bursting that bubble may be shocking, but it will give you your life back.
Think about life using TIME as the ultimate currency. Work is costing you time. Chores are costing you time. Exercising costs you time. Hanging out with friends costs you time. Volunteering costs you time. Watching TV costs you time. Sleeping costs you time. EVERYTHING is constantly costing you time.
So what’s worth your time?
There’s no right or wrong here. It’s completely up to you. The important part is that you are aware of the cost you are paying, and whether you are content and fulfilled with your decision to spend your time -your life- in that way. There’s no one looking over your shoulder making sure you make responsible time-spending decisions. No one gets to dictate what your life should be about – you are the one who gets to spend your time how you best see fit. You are the one handing out the stacks of cash – and it’s up to you that you aren’t ripping yourself off.
We protect our money more than we protect our time, and I personally feel that this is backwards. Yes, we need money, and yes we need to work to make that money. But in terms of what we are going after, what we are willing to sacrifice – it always seems like we are more than willing (as a given) to sacrifice our time for money and things.
If TIME is our goal – having time as the priority – what we choose to do, sacrifice, and even what we want starts to change.
Giving yourself the gift of time is the best gift you can give.
With time, your needs become simpler. Your wants become fewer. Seriously, I never imagined I’d feel less of a desire (need) for my Starbucks coffee or not seriously miss getting massages. Once you have time it’s surprising how much of these wants you will easily let go of.
I think it’s no surprise to any of my readers that money is not something I’m feeling particularly secure in lately. I mean, people don’t typically choose to live without a kitchen just for fun. And though these circumstances are quite significant, the truth is I’ve been broke before. And I’ve certainly spent the majority of my time living paycheck to paycheck, as well as dealing with ongoing debt.
However, there is a huge difference between then and now.
All of the time I’ve struggled with money before now, I was working my ass off nonstop, sometimes working as many as 7 different jobs at once to pay the bills. All of my time was taken up with working and budgeting. My life revolved around money and work.
This time, my TIME is MINE. And of course, not all of my time is “free”, but I certainly do not feel limited for time and I feel a complete ownership and full autonomy over my days. I choose how to spend my time, with my TIME being top priority. As long as I’m making enough to survive and pay for the things that I have decided are important to me, my priority is to protect the rest of my time. That even if there’s other things that will make me money – it has to be worth it to give up the time for it. This shift in thinking has changed my entire life.
Another thing I’ve noticed is how having the time is allowing me to optimize my money. That’s right, TIME is making my money situation better. Time allows me to optimize everything I buy and optimize on the benefits from everything I do.
My monthly yoga membership seemed like a luxury at $100/month; and it sort of was when I was only making it to the studio a couple times a week at best. However, now that I have the time that same $100 provides me with apx 26 hours of exercise, mindfulness, and the zen I crave! Oh, and on top of that I also get to have awesome showers with rain-shower heads (that I used to only experience at high-end hotels I’d splurge on on my vacations for just that experience) and spa soap. Because now I not only have the time to go to yoga class almost daily, I also have time to stick around after savasana to take advantage of the studio’s amenities.
Not only does having more TIME allow me to optimize my investment in a yoga membership, it also allows me to optimize on the health benefits. Getting more yoga in my life has led to less stress and better physical health; which also lessens my need for massages and medicines. Being in better shape from yoga creates more of a desire to eat healthy too – which has many benefits and reduces the need to purchase a plethora of things. Not to mention how much easier that goal is when you have the time to plan, shop, and prepare food. Healthy food isn’t cheap, but I’ve found the money an easier obstacle to get around than the lack of time that usually accompanies this goal.
Reaping the benefits of more time to sleep, meditate, spend with tribe, pursue my passions, and overall just live life on my own terms is providing me with so much more than money can.
It’s the reason I have absolutely fallen in love with living a minimal, simplified life – and why I’m so dedicated to making very intentional decisions about how to spend my TIME first and foremost.
This isn’t to say that everyone should want my particular lifestyle – what I am trying to declare here is how important it is that we all become acutely aware of the VALUE in TIME and own the choice we all have. Reflecting on our lives and consciously making choices with how we spend our most precious currency – TIME.