Don’t Buy Time, Spend Your Life

I heard two people discussing whether the correct phrase was “biding time” or “buying time”. Turns out they’re both correct. Biding time is more akin to waiting patiently. Buying time is when you are actively trying to extend the outcome of something. As a race, we tend to do a lot of both. Either we are patiently waiting around hoping things—our relationships, our careers, our finances, our health—will get better, or we are doing whatever we can, sometimes frantically, to delay or postpone the inevitable. Either way we’re wasting a lot of time. And usually not achieving the outcome we desire.

Most people put a lot of effort into trying to save time. We have entire industries built around time management and life hacks and efficiencies. We desperately try to accrue a big enough balance of time so that we can then spend it doing what we want. Like going to the beach or Disneyland or golfing.

The other option is to spend our time. Literally. Gretchen Rubin, the powerhouse behind The Happiness Project, lives her life by her set of Twelve Personal Commandments. Number 7 on the list is Spend Out. It means to use things up, to not hoard or stockpile things for “some day”. Our time is no different.

Just like money, we can spend our time. Use it up. Put it into circulation. Exchange it. Trade it for things we want. If you want to be fit, spend your time at the gym. Spend it. If you want to learn to cook, spend your time in the kitchen. Spend it. You get the idea.

An old Hawaiian Huna saying says you can have whatever you want in life but you must pay…attention. Your focus. Your time. This is the currency of dreams. Spend it.

Waiting around for the perfect moment or trying to force the opportune situation seldom works.

Stop trying to buy your time. Stop hoarding your minutes. Spend your life.

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