There is one impossibly strong force that bounds all of us and it’s not gravity, it’s time.
No matter who you are you have limited time!
I just realized my shift in thinking this morning on my “commute” (sitting in my spa).
I had previously considered health to be the most important factor in life. Everything we do is based on our health ability. It’s our physical health to perform tasks. It’s our brain health to learn and enhance knowledge, skills, and abilities. It’s deep mental health that puts us into moods that allow our interactions with the world around us.
But it’s time, literally, to realize that everything we think and do is based on a ticking clock.
Backing up a few hours from my commute…I was relaxing last night watching Eureka (S3E4) about a time-space loop. It didn’t register anything dramatic in my mind at the time, other than it was an interesting episode, and that the show creators had placed the story into the timeline on a very significant day in town. BUT, here’s where my real-life story gets more interesting, I woke up at 3:30 am and couldn’t fall back asleep so I got up and sat on the couch and decide to FIRE up the TV and stream some happy Eureka. I finished the show episode mentioned earlier.
Once in a while, I tend to wake up at 3 or 4 am and either lay there and fall back to sleep or rarely get up and visit the couch. Now, this sleep interruption would be a total hassle for a 9-5-er. It always sucked going back to bed at 5 am when I had an alarm ready to BEEP at 6:30 am. But in FIRE, there is no alarm for work. Yes, maybe you have an alarm to make sure you don’t start the day too late (7:30 am?). But my morning entering-the-world-time is largely based on how I feel.
I’ve always felt a super magical freedom with the ability to go to sleep later than I planned or wake up earlier than I planned if that timing suited me for the night’s rest. I’ve known that freedom is one of the super-powers of FIRE.
The difference in today is that I realized this nightly concern, this daily schedule flexibility, is of far greater magnitude when zooming out and looking at it from a higher week long, month long, or even decade long perspective.
What makes this time consideration more valuable is that this richness can disappear at any time, for any reason. Your financial situation could change. Your family situation could change. Your physical health situation could change. It’s entirely possible that one single doctor’s visit—within your family—could change the entire time/course you have been on and planning towards.
I give away some of my time riches when I choose to give time to help others. The act of helping may seem to take time away from your time bank. However, these acts probably reward you in many ways that are non-financially driven, by giving your soul a sense of fulfillment. That in and of itself has a huge value on its own.
I’m not all zen, all the time. Geez, I’m barely zen when I’m trying to be zen, but there’s an important part of your soul that needs the nourishment of goodness. If you are rich in time, then you have the extra wealth to give and nourish.
Addendum: We once had a president who was very rich. He won an election and lost most of his time freedom. He gave away four of his later years in life to serve our country (and his ego). I feel he gave away some of his (time) riches without even knowing it.
*** Nothing in this article is to be construed as financial advice. I am not a financial planner, nor do I pretend to be. You should always consult your own professional when seeking advice. This post is not a piece of literary mastery, just a random thought I had.