Are you familiar with this conversation?
Friend: Hey, want to go for a drink?
You: Sorry, I don’t have the time.
I am sure you have answered that way before. Probably more often than you thought. I certainly use this as an excuse whenever I am busy. Tired of hearing the same reply, my friend scoffed at me;
“Why are you always so busy? Whatever happens to your free time?”
In the midst of surviving the rat race, paying the bills and keeping up with an exhausted body, those words hit me hard and woke me from the distress that has clouded me for years.
The irony is that, I always thought I had everything; a good college education, a healthy body and a stable income. So working hard seems like second nature to me.
But something else was happening. My family sees less of me as I am always late for dinner. My friends stop asking me out because I am working all the time. I used to take a lot of photographs, but now, I don’t even touch my camera anymore.
Whatever happens to my time freedom?
Before I created this blog, I actually thought that all these lifestyles were normal. All busy people behave like that. Surely there’s nothing wrong with that, right?
“Have you ever planned your life?”
I thought everything was in order, that a stable job equals to a good life. But at a closer look, I knew that my situation is not even close to picture-perfect. I was just using hard work to mask my own reality.
What I didn’t realize was that I had traded my time to earn a living so that I can afford the things that I want, but on the downside, it’s almost impossible to find time to enjoy these pleasures.
In other words, I may be rich financially (someday), but I’ll always be poor in terms of time and living a good quality of life.
When I draft my timeline (like the one in this infographic), I finally understood the perspective of time and what I have been missing out on life all these while.
I have filled my path with restrictions and obligations to the point that they obscured my freedom of choice, especially on how I choose to spend my time.
“If you have all the time in this world, what would you do differently today?”
I haven’t thought about this seriously before. It never occurs to me that I would do anything different with my life until I reach the retirement age, or at least when I earn a five-figure income. Obviously, I would be quite worn out by then.
What Is Your Time Freedom?
If I am allowed to choose, I don’t think I want to wait until I am old and gray to enjoy what I love doing most. As I begin to expand the list of my time freedom, I could see myself giving more priorities for my personal well being and happiness.
This has given me a new profound purpose in life as I realized that time is actually the real wealth currency. Those who have more time to enjoy life are just as, or perhaps, more successful than those who are financially rich.
Regardless of which life stages that you are at, it’s time to explore your choices. Let go of the things and people that you can’t change and embrace new opportunities to create wealth that can reward you with both financial and time freedom.
So, the next time someone asks you out for a drink, go for it. It is an invitation to slow down and to enjoy the finer things in life.
What’s your definition of freedom? Please share your thoughts with us.