When I first had the realization that Americans talk about time in the same ways they talk about money, my brain literally powered down like a robot with its cord accidentally pulled out.
“Life is long” says my husband Micah. “Life is short” says me.
I had never really begun to think about my relationship with time until recently. After I got married I realized that I would have some time on earth with my husband and then we would die.
Naturally, I freaked out and decided to jam as many experiences I could into my weeks. I signed us up for a website that suggests fun dates around the area – and went on one at least once a week. Always wanted to be out and about in LA discovering new things. Always wanted to be somewhere new and planned many-a-weekend & longer-term trips.
The result? I am exhausted.
However to me, thinking about time is stressful. There is never enough time in the day that I’d like there to be. I realize also that how I *ahem “spend” my time directly correlates with what I’m passionate about.
I am the master of my time, yet I feel like time is mastering me.
It took me a minute to realize this, but I am passionate about the relationship I have with my husband. And I wasn’t utilizing my time with him. Just him. Just us.
In American culture, we say “time is money,” but in reality “time is priceless.”
If we instead looked to breaking the construct of time that we have created, even just for a moment or a weekend (i.e. we ate when we were hungry, we let the day come to us), we would replace the value of time with how much we value the people in our lives.
When I worked on Skid RowI listened to so many stories. People would come into my office, plop down in the chair next to my desk and start talking. Instead of getting frustrated (sometimes I did), I would just spin my chair towards them and listen.
The concept of time slipped into the background when people opened up and shared their lives. In those moments, they were sharing such a deep piece of themselves. The emails could wait. The voicemails could wait. And you know what? Nobody died. The world didn’t stop turning. If anything, our lives were enriched by one another’s at that moment.
Because for once, I didn’t care about time as a currency exchange. I cared about the person, and let the dialogue lead us to where we needed to go.
And we got there, not by watching the clock, but by letting it spin around unnoticed on the wall behind us as we ran and danced around the stories in our minds.
Time is not money, it is priceless. Enjoy your holiday season and ignore the hands of time.