All the time in the world, pt 2: The plunge

 

I wrote my previous post a few of weeks ago but felt uneasy posting it without answering some of the questions. So I set out on a journey to give myself all the time in the world to see how I would answer these questions.

So, I left my day job, rental home and established life to move in with my family over the holiday period. Having all of my obligations covered and a bit of savings would help keep me from working for a few months. It wasn’t an easy decision to go back home. I had left as soon as I had finished high school and was fond of being my own person with my own life but I any change that I could and have been making is tedious and impeded by the overwhelming need and cost to survive. Also, the questions from my previous post had been nagging at me for quite some time so I made the plunge.

Just like any drastic change I seemed to reject the change immediately. I couldn’t relax and had to stop myself from securing a job. Even though I knew that I had more than enough to get by, the lack of security was and still is hard to get over. I, like most, had been conditioned to get a job and work your way up the ladder. At the same time there are other voices, both internal and external, that tell you to make something of yourself and the time that you have on the earth. But those voices seem to grow dim over time as they become overshadowed by the need to survive in society. Surviving in society is becoming society. So what does it mean to be me?

I decided not to make a plan of action, rules or focus when arriving just to see how I would go. And just as anticipated, after a week without having any real obligations or drive I used my time relentlessly. But I also noticed that I started doing the things that had always been on goals: I picked up a new sport, wrote a lot and spent a lot of time with my family. For the first time in a while I felt easy and at peace: it became easier to get up in the morning, to focus on fitness (which was never easy in the past) and to evaluate where and who I wanted to be. I have little to no urge to watch TV or play video games (where I squandered most of my free time before). I also now have the opportunity to pick up work and opportunities that I love which never had a place in my previously busy life.

It’s funny, before I would have viewed the above usage of my time as a waste as I have not been consciously working towards any of my major goals but now I think it is anything but. It seems as though am building a peaceful and happy foundation which I expect will be conducive to a more productive me. Lets hope this can be maintained.

I think it is about time that to kick things into gear and ad some direction to this journey.

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All the time in the world

Since I have started writing, the idea of time as a currency has really bothered me. Firstly, the majority of my life had taken up working for someone else.
The second thing that has been bothering me is probably the most frustrating. If tomorrow I were to get my wish; if my lifestyle suddenly paid for itself and I had every waking minute to allocate as I see fit; what would I do?
How much time would I devote to me, to my passions and to my future? Would I be who I want to be? Would I have the courage and dedication and motivation to succeed without the dangling carrot or the need to get away from the rat race? Would I procrastinate and squander my time away on the false assumption that there will be more later? Will I make the most of my newly found reasources?
In the past I have found myself letting the little free time I have slip between my fingers. This raises some interesting questions. Without that does not matter, would I share the same passions and would I have the dedication to follow through?
The answer must always be YES! 🙂

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

I would highly recommend the Art of War by Sun Tzu to anyone as a self improvement piece. There is no doubt as to why this is highly regarded by many sales and business people wanting to gain the edge.

Although, the text was produced with the battle in mind, a lot of similarities can be drawn to everyday life. We battle and struggle with ourselves everyday, as we do with others. Its not about life and death and is generally used in context with the selling your product, or how to present yourself to someone to get what you want (oversimplified summary I know).

There is a consistent theme throughout the book which I think is important to everyone and that is to know oneself and until we know ourself we can be our own enemy.

So if you are hitting a brick wall in your life (maybe trying to make or break a habit) why not try a different approach? Maybe looking at yourself and the problem from a different standpoint may reveal the path with the least internal resistance. Isn’t it always better than working with yourself to reach a goal than to work against yourself to do so?

“Let that which does not matter truly slide.”

I know, I know! Another Chuck Palahniuk quote, but it is so fitting for this post. This is my favourite documentary. Saw it a few years ago and it has certainly helped me lead a much more stress free life and in turn hopefully give me a few more years. If you every have wondered the effects that stress has on ones life span, health and position in the hierarchy look no further.

Stress, Portrait of a Killer – Full Documentary (2008)

Please note that I did not upload this vid 🙂

Money for Nothing: not the universal currency

It has become recently apparent that I am obsessed with time!

Time has the power to both imprison and empower us. It is the basis of our society and culture. Much of what we do and who we are is measured by it as it endlessly weathers our universe.

For me, time is the currency in which all debt is paid.

I’ve recently made it past the quarter century mark and can honestly say that I have been somewhat uneasy by the future that I have traded my last 25 years for. I have led a happy life so far, with some amazing achievements. I have always been motivated and goal orientated. Even still, the pit in my stomach is growing by the realization that I am still on track to live out my existence paying for time with time.

On average we are likely to spend about 100 hrs per week (including work, preparing for work, and sleeping), paying for the remaining 68 hours. Our lifestyles may be very different, but we are likely to have the same amount of time to reach our ambitions and follow our goals. But how can we achieve the many different things that we want and lead the life we desire if 68 hours a week is all we have to achieve it in?

Let’s look at how we spend our time so that we can actively reclaim as much of it as possible, instead of handing our precious currency over for the permission to make it to another pay check.

Work:(~50 hours a week) Because the time that we spend at work is an expectation imposed on us by external forces (culture, superiors, peers), our time spent at work is harder to compromise and steal into. Not for a lack of trying though, this is were our holidays, extended lunches and sick days come into play.

Sleep (~50 hours a week): We should be sleeping about as much as we spend at work, but because 68 hours a week is not enough time to chase our dreams, maintain relationships, do chores and loose hours of time in front of the TV, it is only natural that we are tempted to stay up later and wake up earlier. But at what cost? There are some pretty interesting techniques that people have come up with by sleeping less and still improving efficiency (will focus on this in a future post).

Freedom (~68 hours a week): I keep referring to an average of 68 hours a week as the amount if free time we have but for most people (including myself), which is a considerable overstatement: as work, study and other commitments tend to eat away at our energy so that all we want to do with what is left is to relax and not think.

How does your life look? Breaking down my life into the above 3 categories, 2 questions become immediately apparent:

  • How can I move more time from the first to categories into freedom? and,
  • What the hell have I been doing with 68 hours of spare time each week?!?!

If you are out there and have some ideas about reclaiming my time feel free to share :).