Contrary to popular belief, you don’t come into the world with nothing but your naked self. You’re actually already in possession of one of your most important gifts: time.
I like to imagine time as if you are given a certain amount of tickets at birth. At the end of each day, you hand in one of your tickets until they are all gone. At that point, your life is over.
Time as Something You Own
When it comes right down to it, most people probably don’t think of time as something they own. But in reality, you probably already make that association. There is a common expression to say you’re “spending” your time doing something. This implies that it is something you have.
Thinking of time as something you own is useful. Would you find it so easy to waste something if you knew you owned it? Making the ticket analogy helps. Imagining a stack of tickets shrink day after day reminds me to be careful in how I spend my time. Plus, it encourages me to take as much action as possible before they’re all gone.
I look back on too many instances where I wasted time. Instead of spending time watching useless television programs or horrible movies, I could have been out meeting people, traveling or reading life-changing books. In those instances, I didn’t really value the time I had as something important.
I can see how unimportant time is for other people too. I’ve had many jobs where people are excited to get even the least important of things to do because it “kills time” until they get off work. I consider the time I have to be one of the most important and precious of gifts you can possibly have. So to see their glee at “killing” it simply saddens me.
Time is Finite
If it were simply a matter of making up the time you’re “killing” on another date like picking up a shift on your day off, I wouldn’t feel so bad about it. However, time is limited. You only have whatever you’re given. That’s it. Once it is gone, you never get it back.
Time really isn’t something that is “out there”, intangible and unrelated to your day-to-day life. It is your life.
And I think that’s the biggest reason why time is your most important possession. Everything you want to do, see, feel, touch and experience can only happen within the time you are given. Remember, that you can’t do something once you’re dead.
Your life to-do list doesn’t get done by itself. If you’re not working on doing everything that you want to do, you’re just letting that stack of tickets get shorter. One day you’ll be confronted with the realization of how much you still have to get done and how little of time you have to do it.
Pushing what you want to do and accomplish into the future is a foolish plan. Do what you can now or you might not be able to do them all. This is something you should have in the back of your mind throughout your lifetime.
Don’t Waste Time
The strange thing about all the time we have is how few people seem to appreciate it. After all, how many people do you know that work all day in jobs they hate or stay in relationships they can’t stand? I don’t know why you’d want to spend a single second doing something intolerable.
I’ve done all my busy work in grade school. I don’t want to waste any more of my most precious resource. And neither should you. Life is too short to waste it on things that don’t matter. All the time you spend in bad relationships or workplaces just isn’t worth it.
Get rid of all those time-wasters. Spend little to none of your time in situations you can’t stand. It might take a lot of time and effort to get where you want to be. But I’d say all that time was spent wisely.
photo credit: photographer padawan *(xava du)