“Time is money” they say. Indeed many of the cliches about time make it sound like money. We “spend” time, we “waste” time, we “save” time, we “budget” and “manage” time, we long for more “free” time.
But the “time is money” thing never seemed true for me, probably because as a woman of the fifties and sixties, no one was paying me for my time, my time was “worth” nothing. For me and my ilk time seemed more related to activities of daily life – dental appointments, the school day, suppertime, bedtime. Good times, bad times.
Now at this time of my life, when the view looking back is much longer than the view looking forward, time takes on a new sweetness. I have taken a stand. I will no longer sit through a movie I don’t like, watch football, go to the opera, attend fancy social fundraisers or organizational meetings. But I savor my time with friends, phone calls with family, the extra moments to enjoy the daybreak, the sunset, the moon. I would rather “spend” my time dancing with my cat to a Brandenberg Concerto in my own living room than go to the New York Philharmonic. And yes, I “waste” a lot of time playing computer games. One person’s waste is another person’s therapy.
In last week’s Time magazine, Joel Stein wrote about how people spend their time. He was lamenting (albeit humorously) that now with the Internet, people were doing for free what used to be paid for – like writing reviews for Amazon and blogging. “We might be just a few years away from people writing vaguely amusing solipsistic musings on websites for free,” he writes, describing perfectly what he does for a lot of money and I can only dream of. If the trend continued, he warned, the economy would be reduced to those jobs “that are so awful, no one will do them for free: investment banking, consulting, petroleum engineering…”
Looking back on my life it seems to me that it’s all been about time and the experiences it brought in its wake. Time isn’t money after all. It’s life.