Time – It’s the most important, powerful thing you’ll ever possess. Why? Because you can never get it back. It’s something that, if not spent wisely, will always lead to regret.
When something negative happens in life one is always left wishing for more time or to change time. Most people would gladly give anything for just a little bit more, which leads one to wonder why not just spend time right in the first place? But what is the ‘right’ way to spend time?
Many of us get caught up in society’s preconceived notions of how we are to spend our days and end up on the conveyor belt time line. This leads to regrets of time wasted or of one wishing they’d have done this first or that differently. We get so caught up in society’s expectations of how we’re to function life that we focus on the social order of completing things-high school, university, getting married, working insane hours to buy a house then having kids – All in that order. But expectations don’t lead to happiness, especially if this isn’t the way that one wants to spend their time. However, when society tells us that this is the social norm we follow, because we think that this equates to belonging and that if we just complete each step then we’ll be happy, when in reality that doesn’t happen.
I’ve always disregarded time and put my most valuable possession as friends and family. I never put emphasis on the quality of the time I spent with them, just the quantity. I thought that spending a few hours in between my studies and work was good enough. It wasn’t.
After 3 deaths of close family members I finally learned that time – quality time to be more specific – was my most valuable possession, followed by my friends and family then happiness. I learned the hard way that if I spent my time right then I’d have the friends and family that I wanted and that would lead to happiness and a fulfilled life without the regret of time wasted.
Each time someone close to me died I found I was not just longing for more time with them, but that I had put more value in the time we’d spent together. I’ll forever wish that I didn’t focus so much on school and work and exchanging time for money, thus cutting my time with people that mattered to me short. I’ll always wish that I didn’t have a preoccupied mind when I was with them; that I didn’t look at the time spent with them as a chore. I’ll always regret being temporarily satisfied with quantity time spent and making that my focus over quality.
After each death I vowed that I’d do things differently; that I’d spend more quality time on and with what and who mattered most to me and each time I faulted. Yes, my time spent with them increased, but I still placed too much emphasis on graduating ‘within a reasonable time frame’ and working to make money to pay off my student loans. It wasn’t until my grandfather’s sudden passing that my gears really started shifting. It wasn’t until my grandmother’s passing that my mind set totally changed and I saw just how important, valuable and elusive time is.
After my grandfather’s death, when hindsight started to kick in, I took the initiative to make a change and studied less courses per year at school so that I could spend more time with my grandmother. Though my focus was still school, work and money; I was still stuck on society’s preconceived notions of how one’s meant to function life in order to be successful.
Two years after my grandfather’s passing she too died suddenly. I was again left wishing that I’d have done things differently and taken the year off to spend more time with her. After her death I carried on with school; I graduated then continued to spend two more years in a job I hated, living a life I wasn’t enjoying.
I’ve always had plans to go to BC and explore the mountains with my grandmother, a trip that was very important to her and held great value. These plans that were in the works for over 10 years, but I was naive in thinking that I had all the time in the world to fulfill them. After her death I began reflecting on time and its importance and thus decided to do what I had my heart set on doing since I was 15. Since following social norms wasn’t bringing me happiness I decided to change my plans around and again take the initiative to realign my values. So I took another approach to finding my happiness. With the realization that things can be forever changed in a split second, I decided to go against social norms and act on my dreams, thus ending up here in BC, at Chilcotin Holidays. Here is where part two of my transformational journey of personal growth begins and here is where it will always continue. I never know what’s in store for me, but what I do know is that here, so far, has been time well spent.
Photocredits: Kristin Noack