You ever hear the saying time is money? It is a lie.
You cannot put time in the bank. You cannot borrow some from someone else and pay them back tomorrow. You cannot put all your figures into excel and balance the checkbook. There is a firm relationship between time and money that I will explain later, but for starters, hear me out on how distinct they are.
I have a wonderful customer at work that is without doubt the most gracious person I deal with on a semi-regular basis. Yesterday, he said one small thing that sparked a forest fire in my head and I am just letting it burn. I think there is an important change that needs to be made in my life.
When asked when he would be returning, he said “Any time that is convenient for you. I have all the time in the world.” Here I was, taking care of a customer that I am paid to take care of and he is considering my time because he has nothing but time. And that is just a figure of speech, because I hope that now that he’s retired and living comfortably, that someone so gracious and thankful and polite has plenty of people in his life. I really hope so, even though that is not relevant to my point.
Back to the forest fire
When I get to that point, I hope I can be very close to where he is. He did not run out of life before he ran out of time and he didn’t run out of time before he ran out of life. It makes me wonder why I live my life like I have no time. I am going to school full time and working full time and have other obligations. I feel nothing but pressure, being an under-successful adult returning to college. And now, as this wildfire razes the forest in my mind, I feel lighter.
I am exhausted. And I have many long days ahead of me. But I hope to carry this forward. I hope to carry this torch for the rest of my days. You will never get ahead on time. You will never fall behind. That is the illusion we all fight. I have felt like I’m behind on the career and the kids and the romance. And it is all an illusion. I am here. And if I say I don’t have time, it is because I genuinely feel that way, but it is a lie.
So to the most gracious customer I have dealt with, though he will probably never read this, I thank you. Just by carrying that torch you have burned away an illusion and have made me wish to carry that flame forward. More than having children or a career or millions of unearned dollars, I want to be an old man with all the time in the world.
I don’t know the specifics of how this will change me, but I hope it does. I hope it changes you. I hope it changes the world. There is no time to spare, but that is just because you can’t save it.