“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” –Gandalf, The Fellowship of the Ring
There are a few things my two kids absolutely love. Food, books, silly noises, and bath time all rank highly. However, there is one thing they value most of all, and that is time with their mom and dad. Our 3-year-old son constantly invites us to join him in whatever he’s doing: “Daddy, can you read with me?” and “Mommy, let’s do a puzzle!” Similarly, though our 10-month-old daughter is still too young to talk, she craves our attention and is not afraid to voice her displeasure when left alone too long. They simply love to be with us.
Even if you’re not a parent, or your kids are way past the point of mom-and-dad worship, you know what I’m talking about. There are few things on earth more precious than spending time with someone you love and/or admire.
My job involves helping people invest in assets that appreciate in value over time, but I’m here to tell you that there is no asset or investment more valuable or appreciated than time itself. Some of us have more material wealth than others, but we are all equally rich in time. True, longevity is uncertain and some people have more control over their daily schedule than others, but as long as we’re alive we all have 1,440 minutes a day to work with, and the fact that you’re reading this article tells me you have some degree of freedom in choosing how to spend them (while I’m on the subject, thank you for spending a few minutes of your valuable time reading this post). Challenge yourself, then, to examine how you’re allocating your time, and in whom and what you’re investing it. Diversify your endeavors, but concentrate in activities where your efforts will yield the most fruit.
Specifically, I would encourage you to invest more of your “temporal capital” in the people you hold dear. When I reflect on the relationships that matter most to me, there are obviously characteristics of each person that I appreciate and memories that I cherish, but equally significant is the cumulative time that I’ve spent with them. For example, the love and fondness I feel toward my wife is as rooted in the sheer number of hours that we’ve spent together – some exciting, some trivial, some happy, some sad – as it is in any of her special attributes or the specific experiences we’ve shared. There tends to be a positive correlation between the time we spend with others and the love we feel for them, though the content of the hours may vary.
My personal view is that wealth is significant inasmuch as it allows us to devote our time to the people and pursuits that matter most to us. I love this time of year because it reorients our hearts and minds and reminds us of what’s most important in life, what makes us truly wealthy. This holiday season, treasure your time with family and friends, and remember that the greatest present you can give is simply your presence.
Thank you all, again, for reading. Merry Christmas, and best wishes for the year ahead!
And Now For Something Completely Different…