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Why Time is my Currency

This is How I Learned the Lesson

There was a chapter in my life when I was always looking for the next better thing. No matter what it was, it felt like what I purchased lost its wonder the moment when I held it in my hands. So I would put it to the side and find the next amazing thing.

But somehow, between searching for it, finding it and holding it: the wonder slipped away. Every time. It became regular and boring, a little dull and unappealing. I went through apartments and houses like people buy new pairs of shoes. Every time I moved into a new place, I was sure it was going to be fabulous but somehow it never turned into the fantasy that I had created in my head and it was always lacking in some way. I had boxes of things that I never even unpacked when I moved, year after year. Labels got dusty and faded as I carried the boxes from one hope to another.

I was stuck in a cycle of consumerism and you can imagine what that led to. A house full of things. And a whole mountain of debt.

The reality was that I was in an unhappy moment in my life and buying things filled my time. It was my way of trying to answer the nagging void that lingered in my unhappy life. Luckily, I was able to recognize and address this. I ended my unhappy relationship, paid off my debts and worked on making myself whole again. I threw out the unopened boxes and stopped buying so many things. I became frugal and reasonable. I took care of what I had and stopped buying new things. I was able to break the shackles of consumerism that had kept me fixated on the wrong things for too long.

I felt solid. I thought I was set.

Fast forward a number of years later. New marriage, new house, new family. I loved my little home and thrived in my new blended family. My pocket book was full and my credit cards were at zero. I had all this time to refocus on my career and with this recentered energy, I thrived. I got promotions at work and enjoyed my new role as an executive. My husband was even more successful at his work than me (as often happens in couples, still today). He worked hard for this little world that we had built together. We were dedicated to our children and to our jobs.

Day in and day out, we worked. We worked to prove to ourselves that we could succeed; to be role models to our children; to show appreciation for everything that we had in life and not take it for granted. We worked hard because it was the right thing to do; because it was the reasonable path forward; because it was expected of us.

The more we gave, the more work asked of us. There never seemed to be enough hours in a day to get it all done. There were days and weeks when I only saw my husband on the weekend in between errands and sports practices for the kids. There were weekends where we were so focused on work emergencies that we joked about giving the kids chicken nuggets and parking them in front of the tv so that we could take that extra call on a Saturday evening - except that it wasn’t a joke because we actually did that a few times. I had gone from being a slave to consumerism to now being a slave to work.

Then my husband had a heart attack and the world stopped. Work could not fix it. All that existed was him, his broken heart and our little family pod.

In the seconds when we flirted with his death, everything fell into focus. All of a sudden, promotions and work deliverables became irrelevant. All at once, we regretted having neglected our family and each other. We came to the precipice of losing it all and we could not remember why we had veered so off-course and chosen work over family. Faced with the possibility of losing our time together, it became clear that neither career advancement nor promotions would cut it anymore. We finally understood.

Today, time is my new currency.

Now, time is my most precious asset. I protect it and save it. I spend it only on things that are important and that bring me happiness. It is what I measure everything against and it is how I evaluate the cost of my life transactions. It has how I plan for my future and recenter myself in the present. When faced with a proposition, I ask myself:

  • How long will this take me away from the ones that I love?

  • How much of this will not be fulfilling, fun or interesting?

  • How will my time best be spent to be happy, joyful and thriving with my family?

In essence, I ask myself: How much time will this cost me?

As I settle into my late forties, I understand that I survived being a slave to consumerism and I lived through being a cog in the wheel of success. Life has given me the gift of time and the precious understanding of its value. I don’t need many things or fancy titles. All I need is my new currency : time. And I choose to spend it wisely seeking simple joys and uncomplicated connections. I wonder... What time is it for you?

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Unknown member
Feb 13, 2022

Love this blog.

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