It’s been a while since I last wrote something. The past few months have been busy with a new job. Now that I was also working some weekends, I no longer had as much time as I used to before. I was spending the few hours I had on the weekend preparing my meals for the week (so that I wouldn’t waste time cooking during the week) and I hated it — both the process and the food — you see I wasn’t very good at it despite my constant effort through the pandemic. Since I was now earning a salary and following the principles of comparative advantage, from my very first class in microeconomics, I decided to get someone to help me with food. But I still didn’t have enough time. I started taking taxis instead of public transport and the list goes on.
But yesterday, I finished work early and I had 2 hours before meeting my friends for dinner. I walked to the bus stop, waited 10 mins for a bus, changed buses, walked around aimlessly for a bit, and then made it to dinner. I didn’t check the time until I got back home. I missed the feeling of doing this. Not having to rush, not having things to do, not having to check if I had enough time to take the bus or would I have to call a cab. I missed the feeling of not having to worry about time.
Time as currency
I recently watched a movie called InTime where thanks to some genetic engineering everyone can now live forever, but only if they have enough time. Time is the currency — you get paid in time and you use it to pay for things. When your time runs out, you drop dead. The movie is pretty average but one thing stayed with me. In the movie, if you were running around, being hasty in your actions — it was a sign that you weren’t time rich. People who were time rich didn’t have to worry about taking 10 mins extra to get to their destination, but if you were time poor and had a few hours of time left, you were constantly running. Even though I was earning money now, I was constantly rushing.
Rich College Kids
When I look back and talk to people on my podcast, there’s no denying that college was one of the best phases of one’s life. Apart from it being a journey of self-discovery and exploration, I realized it’s a period where you are time rich, and it’s that feeling which has been very hard to recreate. You didn’t have to rush (as long as your got attendance, it didn’t matter how late you were) and hours could pass by — it didn’t matter. We all grow and change, even after we leave college, but as we get on with our lives, we lose that great feeling of being time rich.
I’m not saying that a 17-year-old is time-rich because he or she has their whole life ahead of them. Or a 70-year-old is time-poor because of the contrary. My definition of being time rich is not having to worry about time, irrespective of what your age is. It’s just like money — when you’re “rich” you don’t think too much about money.
It does take some effort to get there, but having experienced the feeling very momentarily, I can’t see why you would want anything else. Some might argue that time is the only finite resource one has and not making the most of it is a waste. While that is true and I don’t mean we should spend our lives at bus stops, it’s a reminder to take time and smell the roses. Just like we prioritize our work over health to make some extra money, which goes to pay the medical bills later, we now spend time to earn some extra money which goes back to save time.