I have this exceedingly cool friend. He’s young, bright, handsome and hip. In other words … everything I am not. So, I live vicariously through him as much as I can.
This week my young hip friend posted this thought on Facebook: “For me, the new American dream isn’t about having a lot of stuff — it’s about having a lot of time.”
He made my wheels turn, as he does so often.
There is one commodity in this world that makes us all excruciatingly equal. Time. Whether you are rich or poor, young or old, we all have exactly the same amount. No matter how hard we work, we can never get more.
The true commodity is “spare” time, or leisure time, and I don’t think this is a function of getting more gadgets or time-saving devices. It’s a matter of choice, isn’t it?
About 15 years, ago, my hard-charging company moved several divisions to the Southeastern U.S., which is known for a slower pace of life. I don’t mean to be stereotypical, but I have lived in the north and the south for roughly equal amounts of time and I have enough data points to declare that there is a greater appreciation for leisure — in general — in the South.
Can’t get by on two
Our division president, who had a tightly-wound Northeastern disposition, had hired some folks to do landscaping for his yard. They would show up, do good work, and then disappear for several days. This drove my boss crazy. Finally he could stand it no longer and confronted the worker. “Where do you go on all these days when you disappear?” He asked.
“Fishing.” The worker replied proudly.
“Fishing?” my boss queried. “Well, why are you only working three days a week?” he asked.
“Because I can’t get by on two,” the worker explained.
Now both of these gentlemen have the exact same amount of time in every day. But they make radically different decisions about how to spend it.
This is entirely up to you
I always think of this story when people complain about how much pressure they are under and how stressed they are about the time-sucking jobs or social media platforms they are tethered to.
In the end, it’s a choice, isn’t it?
How many times are you going to blog each week versus spending time with your kids?
Do you really need to be active on five social platforms? Six? Seven?
One choice I have made is to not blow it out on Google Plus. Something has to give. It gets down to this. I love so many other things in life more than Google Plus and it’s just not serving my needs any better than any other platform I’m using right now. I’ll dip in now and then. But I can’t commit.
So, I’m not one of the cool kids. But I’m happy because it allows me to do things that I enjoy more, including compose great content for you.
Having time to do the things you want to do has as much to do with courage as it does with being organized. You have to be able to say “no.” You have to be able to stick to a vision. That is really hard to do, especially if you hate to disappoint people, like me.
I think it is really that simple. You, and only you, not a life coach, not a self-help guru, not your spouse, has to make a steely-eyed decision about money, time and priorities. You always have a choice. You can always go fishing. Right?
We all have enough time. In fact, we’re all given exactly enough. But do we have the wisdom to use it in a way that makes us joyful?