Time, Money or Living a Life?

November 21, 2008 Updated: October 1, 2015
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“Man ends up the fastest where he remains the briefest.” [Anonymous]

Who has time? Though I have heard of some who twiddle their thumbs, most people have time runs through their fingers before they can act. Others run after time. In this day and age of fast food, microwave ovens, automatic dishwashers, and vacuum cleaner robots, people ought to have the ample free time these devices save them. And another thing: many of us consider it an imposition on our time when speed limits hamper us proceeding in traffic at the rate we want to go—because we are in such a hurry!

Time constraints, hectic, stress—24 hours in a day are not enough. Some attempt to compensate for “lack of time” with elaborate daily time schedules, calculated to the last minute; that often lead to the opposite—less time, and additional stresses, though better planned.  

Former French president Francois Mitterand (1916-1996) commented, “I never carry a watch. Time pieces are whips for all those who fancy themselves to be abused racehorses.”

On the Run?

Some run to save a minute here and there. And once they have actually gotten home half an hour earlier, stress has zapped their energy to the point where they are only able to plunk themselves down in front of the TV set, watch a mindless program and let the commercials lull them into believing that purchasing certain products would bring them peace of mind. And, of course the TV set has to be the latest flat screen model, “after all, we don't indulge in anything else.”

It would have been better to use that extra half hour for an amiable chat with an old friend one had run into while doing the marketing, or to take another route home and perhaps enjoy the pleasant surroundings.

“Put more life into your hours instead of more hours into your life.” [Anonymous]

Many research studies have demonstrated that a life lived in the fast lane makes people sick. The body reacts to a life lived out of balance—manifesting in lack of concentration hair loss, perhaps even heart attacks and cancer. A balanced life demands leisure—for meditative, insightful moments, spontaneous ideas, pleasant human contacts, and fresh air.  

Antoine de St. Exupery stated, “It is good to consider 'wasted' time not as something that has consumed us, but as something that makes us whole.”

“Yes, I would like to…but I don't know where to find the time!” cry many. “But before I have to time to…the day is gone.” When there is no time in our lives for contemplative hours—meaning our life is out of balance—then its high time to examine the overly filled scales.

How do we spend the 24 hours in a day? What is the mundane that steals our time from the things that matter? And what makes something important enough to be placed on the scales in the first place? Where do the time thieves sneak in, and how do we keep the door open for them?  

The following section deals with the relationship between time and money.

Money or a Way to Live

“Money makes the world go around,” say some people. But who decides what plays the main role in someone's personal life? We need to earn an income to live. It is prudent to give priority to those things that demand the biggest financial outlay, and then consider the “small stuff;” a simple rule to follow. But money for money's sake should not become a priority.

People erroneously believe that lots of money, and the things it can buy, make us happy. Certain people hope that money will replace all that we have lost in pursuit of money—health and inner peace.

It is a paradox to want to work many hours to compensate for lost leisure time. Ask yourself this question: to determine future decisions based on either time or money, does money bring me—or others—peace? Would I be better off to treat myself to a day of unpaid leave? One writer suggests measuring one's riches by how much chosen, ample time one has.

George Orwell's comment, “Time does not pass faster than before, but we pass her by with more haste” is food for thought.

“That is all well and good,” some parents say, “but you have no clue what demands modern children make on us parents these days, and how expensive the things they want are!” True, school supplies and activities drain the budget, and on top of that advertising geared toward youngsters puts it in to their subconscious “that is what I must have.” But it is worth an experiment to find out what children would rather have: a costly computer game featuring supernatural monsters, or a few bucks spent on a Frisbee, and we as parents spending time with them to toss it around in a park, until it gets too dark to see the disc any longer.

Unfortunately, many children are already into the advertising mindset and believe they must possess those things that once gotten, turn out to be a huge disappointment. The best thing one can give children is something they all long for—our undivided attention and time.

Now or never—“Suddenly the big hand on the clock stood still in the same spot as the small hand and said, 'we finally have time!” [Anonymous]

Time-Share at Work

The following section is relevant for the German worker, but also applicable to other workers.

Could you get by with less money, working fewer hours to have more free time?

“Modern man's manifestation of poverty is the lack of time,” said Ernst Ferstl.

Working less to have more time is not feasible for many parents, especially single parents and those who work for minimum wage. These people have to work long hours to make ends meet. But for those in particular it becomes important to use their time wisely, to “regenerate their batteries,” and develop new insights on how to better cope with their life situation.

Part II deals with things that rob people of time, and how to arrange chores and duties more effectively to still leave time for things that are most important.

Read the Original Article in German: http://www.epochtimes.de/articles/2008/11/04/364978.html