16 July 2011

Money is Time

Today I have the delightful job of dog sitting. This involves an initial frenzy of riotous jumping and licking followed by a few hours of quiet. Now and then we might take a stroll in each other's company. Walking with a dog beside me feels comfortable and right. Walking without a dog, I might be mistaken for someone up to no good, a prowler even.

Time to write a blog post is included in the dog sitting deal.

This morning there was a nice article in the Daily Telegraph about the Scottish couple who won £168 million on the lottery. Their win makes them the 26th richest people in Scotland. They have roughly the same amount of money as Posh and Becks. So, they were asked, what will change? How will their new riches change their lives?

The questions got me playing the 'what if I won the lottery how would it change my life' game. I'm sure I'm not the only person who has spent at least a little time speculating about that.

It got me thinking that once my basic needs of food, shelter and security have been met, money really only buys me time. I can buy a washing machine to save me time. I can buy a car to save time walking or queuing for a bus. 


In Hannu Rajaniemi's Quantum Thief, the currency of the world he creates is time itself. People have a personal clock that allows time to be traded. When your time runs out, you die (go Quiet).

We all have time, some have more than others. It's how we use it that matters. If I had an extra £165 million it might allow me a bit more flexibility and choice about how I use my time but it wouldn't create any more of it for me.

I don't spend enough of my time consciously. I let it slip away while I perform the routine tasks I'm used to doing. Whole days can be spent pottering about without me noticing.  I while away time, supposedly waiting for some 'better' time to come along.

It's not really about what I am doing, it's whether I am actually alive while I'm doing it. It's a matter of me being aware, feeling how I am, savouring the moment, enjoying breathing in and out.

So I don't need to win the lottery.

I already have plenty of time.

I will begin to spend it more consciously.