Our Most Valuable Resource

Standing at the start of the new year, I’ve been thinking about what I want more of in 2023.

Our most precious resource at this point in life is time.

Without time, we have nothing. Like air and water, we need time. There’s nothing on our list of important things that we need to survive if we’re out of time.

The creation of time is beyond our abilities and control. It marches on, as the saying goes, whether we sit by and watch it go or whether we jump in and make the most of it.

It’s not about having a big stash of time. It’s about making the time you do have rich with good and meaningful experiences. It’s about not wasting time. We seniors don’t have a moment to spare.

Good News

The good news is that we can take a look –  the beginning of a new year is a great time to do this work – to identify ways of spending time that make us happy and that make us feel fulfilled. For the majority of us retirees, most of that goodness comes from our personal life. Doing simple things with people we love is at the top of my list of ways to utilize my most valuable resource for its highest and best use. Complex, expensive, and tedious ways to spend time with others aren’t necessary. In fact, overthinking this issue of how we spend our time can make mush out of the clear and straightforward ways we create and keep meaningful time with ourselves and with others.

A Plan is Necessary

To ensure you’re not wasting time or spending it on unfulfilling activities, you have got to have a plan, something that is easy to stick to about what you’re willing to do during your days, which may include identifying things you don’t want to do. For me, personally, I love to spend lots of time by myself and, if I don’t make a list of priorities, I can slip into The Big Bang Theory and Friends re-runs ad-nauseum. Fun, but what a waste!!

If you think back over the last couple of weeks, you’re sure to see moments where you felt the most joy. I’ll bet these were simple times, not necessarily big events out and about or monumental accomplishments. And, if you’re like me, it might take only a few moments first thing in the morning with my sweet Kali purring on my lap as I enjoyed a cup of coffee. Experiencing joy and happiness isn’t about how much time you have or how much time you spend on various activities. I feel time-wealthy when I’m on the couch with Kali and coffee, and I get to experience that every day in fewer than thirty minutes. I am made better by these precious moments giving and receiving comfort with my pet.

Taking a look at where you find your greatest happiness helps to identify what activities are the most worthwhile and which ones are a waste.

Needing More Worthwhile Time?

One of the great things about being at this stage of our lives, mostly without heavy responsibilities, is that we can enjoy the resource of time more often and more fully. If you find it challenging to see where you can find and increase the resource of time, here are some ideas:

~Instead of looking at your day, look at your week and be sure there are pockets of time that you can use for what pleases you. This time is yours alone! It includes napping, reading, spending time with friends and pets, volunteering, watching TV or a movie. You don’t have to justify this time to anyone! If those pockets don’t currently exist, make them happen each and every week!

~treat your weekend as a vacation. For me it’s been a long time since a vacation from work, or even a weekend, has been part of the mix. In fact, one day blends into the next and pretty soon weekends have disappeared completely. A weekend vacation may include cuddling in bed longer, taking the paper or a book with a cup of coffee or tea back to bed, having a “no-tech day” where all electronics and social media are banned for 24 hours, or try leaving the dishes and/or laundry for tomorrow.

~let go of the things you cannot change. Doing this, even though it may be difficult for some (like me!), frees interminable hours in your days and weeks. Letting go is a huge subject, one that has been discussed here on many occasions. It’s always worth it, however, to see where you might be wasting even the tiniest amount of time worrying, rehashing, or trying to change the past in your mind, and then making the commitment to do better letting go of some of those wasted hours.

Since time is a most valuable resource, are you committed to stop complaining about the lack of it and start creating a bounty of hours and hours of the joy you deserve more of?