Time and money

By Jill McKenzie

October 4, 2017 2:46 PM

Annie Dillard famously said, “how we spend our days, of course, is how we spend our lives.
What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim.”
Are you satisfied with what you accomplish in a day? How do you spend your time?
It seems that we, as a society, get busier and busier and have more places to go and things to do than ever before. But how can this be?
Now that we have every modern convenience possible and don’t have to spend time labouring to heat our homes and grow or bake all our food, shouldn’t we have time to do what we want?
Or have our modern conveniences simply given us more time to fill up with shopping and seeking out new things to desire?
Of course, all our conveniences cost money, and with all the new things we want to acquire we must fill the rest of our time with paid work so we can continue on the hamster wheel of bill paying and waiting for payday.
Live intentionally
Not everyone lives like they’re on a hamster wheel, though, do they? Have you noticed these people?
Serenely heading off to yoga class, or working on some extra education, or otherwise managing to fit into their day an activity that nourishes and restores their spirits.
A pessimist might view that commitment to themselves with a bit of resentment and shrug it off.
“Must be nice,” we think to ourselves as we climb back on our hamster wheels.
But have we stopped to consider that sacrifices were made to free up the time and, yes, the money, to commit to those activities?
Have we thought of what we really want to do, and have we made the same kind of effort to make it possible?
What do you really want?
Most people have a secret goal or aspiration living in the back of their minds.
Maybe a career in the NHL or an unwritten book, or something as ordinary as more time with the family or a hobby.
We all say we want to get fit, take better care of ourselves, improve our relationships.
What we commit to in our new year’s resolutions may symbolize these hopes, the same as our failure to realize any of them symbolizes our inability to make real changes in our lives.
What do you really want? Maybe the NHL dream is over for you, but couldn’t you make time to join a rec league?
Would a class of some kind give you new confidence and feed your creativity? What would take your life to a new level of contentment?
How would you finish this sentence: “If I had the time and money, I’d_______”?
Now, is there a way to free up a bit of time every day so you can get started? Or should you just give up on those secret ambitions of yours?
How we spend our days really is how we spend our lives.
If you feel you never have the time to do what you want or enjoy, or play with your kids or see your family, it’s time to have a hard look at where your time goes.
It may mean cancelling your cable or giving up Netflix. If you spend time scrolling through your phone to relax, try devoting that time to your special interests instead.
Yes, you may work long hours and go to bed exhausted every night.
For people that feel overwhelmed and exhausted by their routine, it’s a matter of health and sanity to figure out how to take a break from the hamster wheel they are on. And that brings us back to money.
If you can’t keep track of your time, how are you doing with your money? Does your hectic pace leave you little time for spending, or does it make you rely on convenient (expensive) alternatives to help you meet your commitments?
Do you eat out because there’s no time to cook? Do you shop on your phone, or otherwise fill your spare moments consuming rather than creating?
The sad truth is, many of us will never have the money to be able to concentrate entirely on a hobby or goal.
We will always juggle work and family and other commitments. But if we prioritize that one activity over all the other distractions that pull at our attention, we might soon find our own interests at the centre of our routine.
“A schedule defends from chaos and whim”
So true. Schedule your interests into your life. Be strict with time and money and cast away distractions that prevent you from reaching your potential. Life is too short to be stuck on a hamster wheel forever.

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