14
Jun
09

Money, Time, and Energy

(First published in July 2008)

It has been said that there are three stages in life: when you have time and energy but not the money; when you have money and energy but not the time; and when you have money and time but not the energy.

The first stage normally occurs from childhood until graduation. You are young and at the peak of health, and schooling takes only about half of your waking hours. But then, unless you’re a spoiled rich kid, you just depend on a meager allowance from your parents.

The second stage takes place from the moment you start working until you retire. You are still relatively young and strong and you have some money, but unless you have a very stable business that requires little supervision, you do not have much time because you spend most of you time making money.

The third stage is after retirement. If you did well in stage two, you have enough money and lots of time, but unless you have exceptional genes and lived a healthy lifestyle, you do not have much energy left.

Money, time, and energy. Man’s three basic resources. We make them, we use them. We take them, we give them. We save them, we waste them. We find them, we lose them. Their relative values change as we go through life’s stages. Suddenly one of them becomes all too precious while another diminishes in importance. And then we look back, second-guessing ourselves on the choices we made.

For most of us in the second stage, I guess time is the most precious commodity because it is the scarcest. Oftentimes we are much more willing to part with our money than to give of our time. I am sure you know some people who, when invited to a wedding, would rather give a huge gift check than spend a few hours attending the ceremony and reception, especially when they are not very close to the bride and groom. Maybe in those few hours they can make more than enough money to cover the check.

I also have this wealthy friend, a businessman in his early forties, who cannot go on much-needed vacations as often as he would like to not because he does not have the money but because he does not have the time. And during those rare occasions when he is “on vacation,” he still operates his business by cellphone. For this I do not envy his financial success.

The adage that time is money could not be more true. When traveling long distances on my personal time and choosing between a plane ride and taking the bus, I would compare the difference in fare costs with what I would normally earn in the duration of the longer travel option based on my computed daily/hourly pay. Obviously the longer the travel, the more days I will have to take off work. If the savings in fare is less than what I would earn in the period of the extra travel time, I would choose the faster albeit more expensive transport.

I could go on with many other examples but you get the idea. Time is money. But more than that, money lost can be regained, but not time. And it never ceases to surprise me how often people forget that. We tend to become simplistic in our quest for money that we forget the other commodities. And this is not because we are living in a third-world country, as we are no different from those living in the world’s richest nations when it comes to putting money ahead of time and our health.

Ah, health. People working their asses off only to end up spending their hard-earned money on bypasses and maintenance meds. And I would say that health is synonymous to energy.

When business associates and people outside my closest circle of friends invite me out for a drink, they often find me unavailable. This is because aside from the high cost  of liquor in a bar (when one needs at least ten drinks to be satisfied, it can get quite expensive), a night out takes a lot of my limited time and dwindling energy – I’m not twenty anymore and able to work effectively the following day with a hangover. So if I choose to spend a night out with you, sharing my money, time, and energy, you know that you are to me a very close friend – or a very important client. innerminds

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Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues

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