Monday, June 23, 2014

Spending Time

I think I spend the majority of my time thinking about, planning, and managing how I spend my time.  Aside from all the energy I use to plan things, set up appointments, make to-do lists, and manage my calendar, there's all the time I talk about what I've done or what I'm going to do.  How was my weekend?  What did I do last night?  What are my plans for today?  What are we doing tonight?  What's your week look like?

The words we use to talk about time-- spending it, wasting it, managing it-- are the same words we use to talk about money. Because time really is like a currency.  And to me, at this stage in my life, it feels even more valuable than money.

"Einstein discovers that time is actually money."

I'm very fortunate to be at a point in my life where money is not a major source of worry-- because of my frugal tastes, simple pleasures, and enjoying a standard of living in a 21st-century First World country, I can pretty much afford anything I want-- but time has become that thing that I feel I never have enough of.  (And this is before we have any kids. Once Cletus Fetus bursts into our lives, I know I will never ever feel caught up on anything ever again.  So I have that to look forward to.)

One thing I loved about working in academia was all the time off I got.  I might have been able to make more money in the private sector, but what I used to tell people was, "You can't buy vacation time."  What's the point of working all the time and accumulating wealth, if you never have time to spend it?

There's one crucial difference between time and money, though.  With money, you can save it, invest it, accumulate more of it, and then spend a whole mess of it at one time.  You can also get loans and pay it back.  You can't do that with time.  Everyone has to spend time at the same rate as everyone else.  You can't save it up.  You're going to spend time whether you sit on the couch watching TV or buy groceries or hike the Andes.

So why haven't I blogged in almost a month?  I'd say that I haven't had enough time, but that's not exactly true.  I had enough time to watch TiVo, play upon the Interwebz, play tennis (even play my new tennis computer game), as well as keep up with all the regular work, chores, and errands that a working middle-aged house husband who's dealing with two homes has to deal with.  Among all that other stuff, writing my blog has dropped near to the bottom of the list.  (Just above calling our plumber about scheduling house repairs.)       

Um, I think I'll watch LOLcat videos instead.

One thing that always annoyed me is when people use the flip phrase, "You have too much time on your hands" to judge how someone spends their time.  Look, just because I keep a spreadsheet of all my tennis matches, or our grocery list, or how often my cats pee on the spare bed in the back bedroom (yes, I swear I'm not making that up, but it's really just a diagnostic tool to see if I can figure out patterns)-- just because I have hobbies that other people think are silly doesn't mean my time is any less valuable than someone who's going to a quilting convention or studying stock quotes or watching Honey Boo Boo on the talkin' picture box.  We all have different things that capture our attention, different ways we choose to spend our time.  Some of us need a lot more down time.  Some of us need to stay active all the time.     

Since I've already spent two hours of time on this crappy new blog post, I'll have to end it here without a brilliant conclusion.  (Yes, two hours is way too much, but I stopped and started this post several times because I couldn't decide what to do with it.)