You make your time, then your time makes you.
One of the biggest misconceptions of time is that it’s spent like money. While it’s customary for us to trade our time for money (e.g., working a job), time itself actually has few properties actually related to money. Unlike money, time is not fungible. Time can not be stored or accumulated. Time can’t even be exchanged; it’s just constantly passing.
It’s become “smart” to make each moment one that requires you to get something out of it; time merely becomes an instrument to accomplish a goal, to get a result of some sort.
Making money is the most obvious version of this, but there are other ones; completing tasks, running errands, and getting something done. From this perspective, life just becomes one big, ever-expanding, checklist in pursuit of more. More. Bigger. Faster.
Nonetheless, this misconception is widespread, and because of it, we don’t even enjoy our free time anymore.
We need a new conception of time. I’ll propose this one:
Your life is made of moments; decades, years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds.
If you’re anything like me and you watch bad TV for several hours, you’ll not only feel tired, but perhaps also ashamed of how you spent your time—it was unwise, unproductive, and even pointless.
But watching bad TV is therapeutic in its own sense, because it’s a reminder that time not only isn’t in our control, it’s not meant to be used as an instrument to acquire more. We don’t need to think of our time as being “spent,” “traded,” or “saved,” like dollars in a bank account. We need to appreciate each moment of time and make the most of it. If it’s being spent on bad TV—so be it. To quote Jiddu Krishnamurti, “I don’t mind what happens.”
The secret to life is that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey and the process. We’re best served soaking in each moment, as if it could be the last time we experience something like that. Because it could be.
This might be the first step to finding happiness: learning to appreciate and enjoy the inevitable passing of time.
Thanks for making time to read this. If you want to let go of results and instrumentation of time, you’ll enjoy my upcoming book Creative Doing.