Money or time? Which is more valuable?

I’m sure this is a dilemma which faces most people at some point in their lives, many on a daily basis. What is more important; money or your time? Is working a 60 hour week with no free evenings, no weekends and no time with your family and friends worth it if you make plenty of money? Or is it ok to make less money but have more free time to do the things we enjoy doing? I worry sometimes that today’s society is so work driven that many people have forgotten what it’s like to do the things they enjoy and define themselves by their job title rather than their personality or virtues. Indeed I am discovering more and more often that without work people have no idea what to do with their time. Whatever happened to hobbies and interests? Making the most of time off?

Of course, money is vital. Without it we couldn’t live and essentially it is what makes the modern world go round. I love meeting people who have chosen a career or a job because they genuinely enjoy it, because I think that this is happening less and less. Very few people you will come across nowadays have a real affection for their occupation and even fewer actually enjoy going to work.  I often wonder whether people are making their career choices purely driven by money, or because if they were honest with themselves, they don’t really know what else to do…?

I have decided to take a part time job-share for next year and I have been amazed at how many people have looked at me in surprise and asked ‘What will you do instead?’ Managing to fill my days with activities I enjoy has never been something I’ve struggled with, yet so many can not possibly comprehend what else I would do with my time if I’m not at work. Which brings me back to my question. Has money become more important than time? Has working and earning taken over people’s lives to such an extent that they no longer yearn for those things they enjoy, instead unquestioningly accepting the fact that they must work and earn as much money as is humanly possible?

I’ve said it before and I’m sure this isn’t the last time it’ll be referred to here. We are only here once and we need to make the most of it. When I’m an elderly lady and reflecting on my life and choices, I don’t want to look back and wish that I hadn’t spent the majority of my life on earth slogging away at work. I’d like to look back and realise that yes, I could have had more money and lived a more lavish lifestyle, but instead I chose to live a simpler life, doing the things I enjoy and living life to the full.

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Should you move for the job or the place?

Only once have I moved somewhere to follow a job, and that was as a young newly qualified teacher who needed year of experience under my belt, so for the sake of ten months it didn’t really matter to me where I went. It was pretty dull, but a means to an end and since then I would never dream of moving somewhere I hadn’t chosen purely to follow a job. I’ve always lived in places that I want to live, places that I chose. But I’m very aware that this isn’t really the norm. Almost everyone you meet is where they are because either them or their partner has followed a job. I guess to most this seems like an obvious life choice, go where you can earn money, but it strikes me as surprising how highly people place jobs and careers on their list of priorities, and I’m intrigued as to why more people don’t consider where they would like to be and their quality of life as a lot more important. Indeed an astonishing number of people you meet have reached retirement having lived in a mediocre town that they simply tolerated rather than enjoyed, for the majority of their working lives. A two week holiday once a year is their only chance to escape to somewhere they enjoy. Fifty weeks of slog for two weeks of reward just doesn’t seem enough to me.

When I moved back to the Alps many years ago and got a teaching job, I lost track of the amount of new colleagues who asked me “So is your husband working here?” And oh the strange and bewildered looks I got for saying that no, my husband didn’t have a job here, I had chosen to move here!

Of course there are the obvious drawbacks to simply following your desires, and being reckless often doesn’t work out for the best, but sometimes I wonder whether people focus too much on money, jobs and careers, and forget that their own happiness also counts. How many people stop and consider whether they actually like living where they do? Or have they just grown accustomed to it, and aren’t brave enough to think about changing? I spend a lot of time considering these things, and like to think that I’ve found a healthy balance. I love my job, and could be doing exactly the same thing in a place I hate, but instead I chose to explore my options, and I discovered to my delight that there was a way of doing what I love, in a place I love.

My thoughts are, you only live once, so make the most of it…

Do something every day that inspires you…

Ok, so maybe every day isn’t possible! Understandably life often gets in the way, but it’s so important to try and do something as often as you can that either inspires you, takes your breath away, or simply makes you smile. It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular, it could be stopping to look at a beautiful view, making the effort to watch the sunset, pulling over in the car to admire a rainbow, or simply pausing to appreciate where you are. All too often people find it difficult to look past the negatives in their day, without stopping to appreciate their great friends, their comfortable life, the people that love them, and the food in their fridge!

It is perhaps an old cliché, but I do think the simpler things in life are often the most pleasurable. Daily life is so hectic, juggling the work/life balance, that people often don’t feel they have time to even stop for a minute, myself included, because in that minute that you paused to take a breather, imagine all the things you could have done, the emails you could have sent, the phone calls you could have made… We’ve all felt like there’s just not enough time in the day, but if you take on too much and never pause for breath, you begin to lose perspective of why you’re here in the first place. Money is a huge driving force behind how much you take on, but there has to be a balance somewhere, and I see it as so important that every now and again you sit back and appreciate what you have, and where you are.

Have you ever stopped to think about how much worse it could be? The answer to that is probably ‘a lot ‘, so next time you feel overwhelmed, try and find time in your day to talk to that person you didn’t have time for, or to stop and take a photograph of the light through the trees that you may never see again. In a hectic day at work, take five minutes to get in touch with that friend you just haven’t haven’t had time to reply to, because if you’re anything like me, an e-mail from an old friend is a ray of sunshine on a never-ending day, and a sure way of making you smile!

Despite being tired and with a million things on my mind, I managed to get out for a quick ski tour after work yesterday afternoon, and wow was I pleased I did!

The sun sets over a spectacular vista on the ski down
The sun sets over a spectacular vista on the ski down 

A lonely peak peers out through the cloud inversion
A lonely peak peers out through the cloud inversion