Why ‘Time Freedom’ May Not Be Your Biggest Payoff
“I used to be impressed by people who had a lot of money, but now I’m impressed by people who have a lot of free time. Time is the ultimate measure of wealth.”– Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano
There’s so much that can be said, pontificated upon, in reference to Pomp’s quote about time and wealth.
But, damnit, I just don’t have (err, I mean desire to find) the Time to riff too long on it.
After all, I’m in America residing in a downtown city loft where I’ve got so, so, so many things I must, must DO. Must, must SEE. Must, must ACCOMPLISH.
F*ck, how will I fit it all in?
You see, here’s the rub I think; the immediate question for those who are under the heavy thumb of Time:
How do I wrestle it’s ass to the ground where I am in mastery of my 86,400 seconds each day?
On a remote island, an exotic place seemingly that many wish to go (especially since 2020), money is a moot point. Without goods or services to buy, sell and trade, money isn’t wealth.
As Tom Hanks’s character in Cast Away found out [favorite clip], Time then becomes less about who to SEE, what to BUY or WATCH, or what to EXPERIENCE (to satiate our “pleasure chemical,” dopamine)…
Instead, Time becomes more about FINDING (water, food) and CONNECTING (to your-SELF).
Of course, as you’re reading this, you’re not stranded on a remote island yearning for social interaction. At the same time, having oodles and oodles of FREE TIME (sans the island stranding) does, upon first blush, sound like a romantic quest.
If everything is taken care of — including personal and family cash-flow and lifestyle needs — then would the world truly be your blank canvas?
I’m not convinced entirely.
My critical side says that you’d be faced to actually answer this cliché question:
If you had an unlimited amount of Time, without need or worry of money, what you be doing?
For many, maybe even you, I think that is a frightening mental assignment. It requires an honest surrender to the simple fact that it was never Money’s fault in the first place. It was, rather sadly, your own.
Yours, and mine, for being in denial of the fact that we’ve never really defined our values and passions deeply enough to DO and BE what we really want.
If we had, we’d move heaven and earth, and put down the fiction book and TV remotes, in order to overcome our imaginary boogeyman called Financial Freedom. Modern-day distractions are our comforts.
We can all make excuses for playing it small. We can all also find reasons to dream big and execute on our tasks quickly.
But, again, quickly for what purpose?
Feeling that you have to make to-dos and check them off fast… that still seems mutually-inclusive to striving for a future payoff.
It’s that constant juggling between studying and planning (for an experience or thing had at a time in the distant)… and having discovery and presence NOW.
Pray, meditate, sit for 15 minutes in a state of creative visualization?
- For solutions to personal challenges?
- For self-introspection without any agenda other than to just sense what enters your noggin’?
- For higher-level guidance tied to just what the hell it is you’re capable of?
Whatever the case, none of that requires money; only Time given to the mental effort.
I believe it was Henry David Thoreau who once wrote, ‘The price of anything is the amount of life you [are willing to] exchange for it.’
Are we entrepreneurial-driven souls here to exchange more Time for Money, or more Money for Time?
The former implies we value a rich life that gives us, ultimately, the freedom and resources to… well, have more Time to do things. The latter implies we see the value, the necessity, in people-leverage, with the self-acceptance we can’t do everything on our own. We must outsource and manage, crap, in order to have more Time for other things.
Seeing the love-hate dance here?
There’s a latin phrase called Memento Mori.
It loosely translates to remember that you have to die!
It’s a reminder, essentially, that even though you’re on a quest for time-freedom (i.e., no constraints to your potential by needing to trading your Time for Money)…
For fucks sake, that type of freedom is still limited.
As in, your physical life is very fleeting. A somber fact. Yet, ironically, facing the topic of death very well might be the most liberating examination of wealth and what it means to really live.
Marianne Williamson is famous for saying that “it is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.”
Yes, we’ve forgotten just how powerful we are. But, if we can see the overall big picture, we’re constantly reminded of what a ticking timebomb death is.
So, I think I’ll disagree with Ms. Willamson and, instead, edify what cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker has been saying for decades:
We are scared shitless to face the reality that we’re dust in the wind. We’re heading back to the dirt to be food for the worms.
“I saw the angel in the marble, so I carved until I set him free.”– Michelangelo
With that pending doom, dear reader, can we not just abandon the tight grips we keep on our identities? — our beliefs about whom we are and what we (think we) must strive for.
Instead, maybe the real measure of wealth is being able to look down on your future self, while on your deathbed, now! And, while you ask yourself what it was like living here on planet Earth…
You’re able to recognize (as in accept today while alive) that you passed through so fast, so focused on the future and in angst about the past, that you were never really here to begin with.
If you’re taking yourself way too serious, or in a bit of denial about your pending demise, imagine, says Mark Manson, the grim reaper silently laughing to himself while watching you build an elaborate Lego set called “Life!”
You turn round and yell at the dark bastard: “Stop laughing, this is important!”
Hint: In the grand scheme of things, maybe what’s really important is as simple as just knowing yourself; truly, deeply knowing yourself before you’re unable to NOT know much at all during this round of living.
No matter how cautiously
you live, there is no escaping
the fatal clutches of old age.
So then, better to join the fray
and fight proudly for something
– A Life rule based on the Hávamál, a collection of old Norse poems from the Viking age