Time and Money--The American Decision

“Time is money.” It’s come to be understood that the two are interchangeable, but that’s not exactly correct. In fact, time is more valuable than money. Here’s why.

We spend our lives working hard to earn money so we can “enjoy life.” A recent study suggests that Americans are literally working themselves to death. The study tied death rates in the United States to work and stress related illness and determined that one third of adult deaths in this country are the result of the way we work. Many Americans are literally killing themselves in the pursuit of accumulation.

As the Eagles put it. “You can spend all your time making money...”

We tend to think of money as the ultimate resource, but in fact, it’s time that is the most precious form of currency. Regardless of how much money we have, we have little control over how much time we will be allotted in this life. Even with advanced healthcare science, money doesn’t guarantee a long life. There are poor people who live to a ripe old age and wealthy individuals who die young. While we can’t control the length of our life, each breath allows us to decide. Health and happiness are directly related to the little decisions we make every day.

Some seek fortune even at the risk of sickness, frustration and self-destruction. Some pursue wealth, with no reasonable likelihood that they will find it. Even though studies show that money can’t buy happiness, we have been taught that having more money makes life better. Given what we know, about the pursuit of wealth at any cost, some millennials are deciding to break the cycle. They value free time and recreation ahead of wealth. Instead of working themselves to death in order to enjoy a richer tomorrow, they choose to enjoy the richness of life every day.

Here are two images to consider. See yourself as a successful, wealthy, elderly person surrounded by luxury. In this image, you have worked your entire life to accumulate money and creature comforts. In your quest for wealth, you “threw your grandmother down the stairs” as one wealthy businesswoman recently suggested. You didn’t allow anyone or anything to stand in your way. You had a family once, but they were obstacles to the completion of your mission and they’ve long since fallen by the wayside. Most of your friends are like you, distrustful of others who might be trying to pilfer their wealth. They keep their distance. Your material wealth spreads before you as far as you can see. You have accumulated everything you want. Time runs out and you die, alone.

In the second vision, you don’t have a lot of money. You live one day at a time, in simple surroundings with few possessions. Although you can’t always provide everything you desire for yourself, your generosity and care for others throughout your life had supplied you with an unlimited amount of goodwill. Those around you are eager to repay previous kindnesses with love, affection and the basic necessities. Although your fortune is measured primarily in smiles and laughter, you feel blessed. Putting others first has yielded modest yet infinite returns. At the end of your days, you die content, surrounded by family and friends.

Which will you choose?
Image source: Unsplash

Charlie Seraphin