It’s been a busy few months of work and an equally busy few months of life. Work had got into one of its upward surges, things needed fixing up and sorting around the house, the social calendar was in flow and research for university was plugged in amidst the chaos. No matter where I looked there seemed to be no let up. I reviewed the list of things I really wanted to accomplish in my life and thought “How on earth can I find the time?”.
I thought of the usual options. Find a new job, don’t go out so much, put my life ambitions to one side for another day…but I realised none of these really fit the bill. When discussing my predicament with others, a few asked, “Why don’t you work part time?”
The thought had never occurred to me before. Was it even an option in my line of work? And having been a studious character and career-led person, what would part time even mean for me? Was it acceptable for me to decide to allow myself more free time or was it just a desperate and irresponsible dream in a chaotic moment? And the paycut…wasn’t it simply counter-intuitive to take a paycut when our capitalist society encourages us to work harder and to keep climbing the career ladder? What would it mean for me to choose time over money?
So many thoughts turned over in my head, but only one stuck fast. Part time would allow me security and if offered by my place of work, it would also allow me to stay in a line of work I enjoy the challenge of and to continue to work with amazing people. It’d also give me time to research for university. It’d give me time to write the book I always wanted to write. It’d give me time to setup some mindfulness workshops and spread some goodness into the world. Rather impossibly, something I’d never before considered seemed the right answer for me.
The next day, I took the plunge and asked whether working part time would be possible. My workplace were accommodating and a couple of months later, it was a done deal.
I reflected for a while on this idea of always having to climb and make more and more money. And also what it means to take a step back in the other direction. As long as I could maintain paying the bills, keep a roof over my head and have food to eat, what more did I need? We first earn money to have the basics in life. After that, everything really is a luxury. At what point do we begin to feel we need things that we don’t really need? And don’t we just end up in an endless cycle of craving? It isn’t easy to give up the luxuries we become used to, but when you think about the things that really matter – family, relationships, feeling connected and having time to maintain these important aspects of life – money’s hold over us begins to lessen.
Would I rather have money or time to spend? The answer was simple. Nothing could ever buy time back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.