In an already (in)famously busy country, the holiday season in the United States may be even busier for many people — which makes it a perfect moment to consider the value of all that busyness. At the heart of this consideration is time: What you do with it, how you spend it and why you spend it as you do. Most people don’t think of time as a resource, but I would argue (and I wouldn’t be the first or the most eloquent to do so) that time is our most valuable resource. With all the money in the world, you can do nothing without time. And time has an important benefit that money and other useful resources don’t. It’s one in which we are all born rich.
We often receive letters from readers sharing their dreams of creating a self-sufficient homestead or growing container gardens on a city balcony. Regardless of scope or location, these dreams require time — time to plan, sometimes to save for, to bring into reality and to enjoy. It’s so easy to fritter away time without considering the cost of doing so. How many hours have you spent on activities that are neither fulfilling nor enriching, or with people that (no matter how nice they may be) aren’t enriching your life, or you theirs? One way or the other, you spend your time. If you’re spending it on meaningless activities or perceived obligations that really aren’t important, it’s like paying twice the price for something you didn’t really want in the first place. You paid in the time that was spent, and you’ve paid again by taking that much time away from the plans and people that you do value.
If you take a look at how you spend your time versus how you would like to, what would you change? What would you most like to spend your valuable time working toward? Let us know in the comments below.
The first time I heard someone discuss time in this way was when I encountered Rolf Potts’ book Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel a few years ago. I haven’t been able to shake the idea yet, and hope not to. Even if long-term travel doesn’t pique your interest, I’d recommend the book for Potts’ more thorough (and more skillful) discussion of the ideas above.