Time as commodity?
Updated: Oct 23, 2019
I am at a major crossroads….
I have a good secure, well-paid government job. I have the security of sick leave if I fall sick again. I work a 9-day fortnight and I get enough leave to take a good annual holiday, or two if I choose. I work in a positive environment with a co-worker I respect and laugh with every single day.
But do you know what? My job doesn’t light up my soul. I don’t jump out of bed in the morning and think, “I can’t wait to get to the office”. I sit under fluorescent lighting, in artificial air-conditioning that’s too cold for Eskimos and in all honesty the hierarchy makes me feel sick to my stomach. I look around the office and my fellow coworkers are tired and fatigued and fuel their bodies with caffeine and stimulants to get through the day.
I believe there has to be a better way. I don’t believe we were designed to sit at a desk for 40 hours per week. I question who designed the 5-day work week? Who thought it was a good idea to work five days out of seven. That’s over 70 percent of our week spent at work. 70 percent of our week spent away from loved ones and doing what we love; doing what lights up our soul.
We live in a fast-paced world. Our day starts with the invasive sounds of an alarm clock beaming from our smartphone. Radiation omitting smartphone, placed only inches from our brains while we sleep to ensure we don’t miss a social media ‘like’ tally to validate our self-worth. We grudgingly roll out of bed and rush to get ready for work. Breakfast is inhaled on our way out the door as we jump in our car to drive the soul-destroying, concrete jungle to get to work. The next eight hours are spent sitting stationary at a desk, in a posture unfit for human beings. This strains our psoas muscle; the muscle directly connected to our flight or fight response. This progressively messes with our adrenaline and cortisol and why it’s been labelled the ‘new smoking’. We continue our daily duties of sending relentless emails, taking phone calls or attending back to back meetings. A skill we’ve titled ‘multi-tasking’. A skill that rewards us if we can master it. So, we work our asses off, increase productivity and if we’re lucky, the organisation we work for might allow us the privilege to step foot on that so-called corporate ladder of ‘success’ and gradually climb our way to the top.
Last year I spent a month in Bali, with no strict schedule and nowhere to be. During my time there I talked to Balinese people, learnt about Balinese culture and played with Balinese children. I learnt a lot through these interactions and observations. I look at their lifestyles, their kind gentle nature and their inability to ‘multi-task’. I was privileged enough to be born into a first world county. I have access to clean drinking water, good medical treatment (although debatable) and access to all the support and services anyone could need, but I question who is really better off?
During my month there I met many travellers from around the globe, mingled with local entrepreneurs and spent time writing my book. I ate when I was hungry, slept when I was tired and swam when I craved the ocean. For those 30 days, an alarm clock simply did not exist. I had space. I had time. I had freedom.
It was on day 28 of my month in Bali I had an ‘ah-ha’ moment. I realised that my creative energy had been amplified. This gift of time provided a space where I could become more creative. I put energy into writing my novel and I actually enjoyed it. It wasn’t forced. It wasn’t rushed. My writing improved. I was more creative, I had new ideas and it flowed easily. My best friend visited. We shared a dream, had a vision and together we brought it to life. We made a plan, sourced a venue, created a name, and have since built our business - Kaimana Wellness.
We live in a society where our lives become so busy and our minds to stressed that we lose our intuition, our creativity and our ability to think clearly.
I think it’s crazy we work 40 plus hours a week. I think it's crazy we have two days off a week and a few weeks off a year. It’s crazy that couples are trying to raise families with both parents working full-time; that fathers are often so unhappy in their jobs and killing themselves trying to provide for their family, that mothers are juggling work and motherhood and running themselves ragged. But we keep working to fulfill our dreams, increase our bank accounts, buy a bigger house, or a newer car.
Why do we do it? What are we killing ourselves for? To pay off a mortgage, to give your life and soul to an organisation who can replace you at the drop of a hat.
Disease is it an all-time high. Cancer, heart disease, mental health and suicide statistics are increasing at an alarming rate. Our society is killing us. Our spending, our consumerism, our desire to keep up appearances, our work-life balance (or lack thereof it) is killing us. All of it; is killing us.
I’m not sure what the answer is, but I do know this. We are on this earth for such a short time. We don’t take our material possessions with us; our fine cars, clothes, or houses. All of that will stay here on earth and fade as quickly as our rotting corpses. What we do take with us are our love and our learnings. The love we gave to others, the love we gave to ourselves and the love invested in our planet. We get to take all that we have learned, and all that we have gained.
What I really want in life is to create more time. More time to do the things I love; the things that light up my soul. I want to create more time to invest in my relationships, my family and time to help others.
However, what I seem to always create is a life that’s so busy and hectic. A life where I don’t always have time for people. A life that is so busy that everything gets half my attention instead of all of it. Everything I do is rushed.
I have been listening to Tim Ferris and he states we are financially better off to have an annual income of forty thousand dollars and have time, then an annual income of one hundred thousand dollars and no time. Something to think about...
So the question for me is - how do I create this? How do I move fully into my true passion for yoga, health, and wellness and move away from the corporate hierarchy?
I want to stop trading my time as a commodity. So, do I take the plunge and step away from my safe, secure, job and go live my passion? Or do I stay where it is safe, secure and predictable?
My all-time favourite quote:
"A ship in harbor is safe. But that is not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd
What are your thoughts, experiences, advice? Have you ever taken the plunge to create what you really want it life, or do you stay safe at the harbor? Do you know what your true passions are and do you get time to fulfill them?