Friday, 15 August 2008

Folk Fest Philosophy II - Time and Money

The Claire Lynch Band was another group of performers that had me digging through my backpack last weekend at the Folk Festival to find my paper and pen so I could quickly scribble down some more inspiring lyrics. In her sweet Alabama voice, Claire sang,

"Find the time to make your pay: Give a dollar's worth away to make a quarter."

The song was called "Moonlighter," about a mother working two jobs to pay the bills while trying to take care of her kids. The mom in the song makes coffee in her sleep and hopes the kids get ready for school on time so she's not late for work, all the while lamenting that she doesn't have the time to spend with them that she'd like to.

It's a cliche to say that time is money. I think Claire's words speak to the idea that time is worth more than money, but that our 'rat race' type of society devalues time in favor of money. That's hardly a new concept, but what about this concept: Sometimes time is just time. Time with family, time for ourselves, time in the garden. Time for tea and a book.

What if people took back their time? Imagine if people on a large scale decided that it was more important to go camping or play board games with their kids/spouses/siblings/friends, than it was to rack up one more overtime shift. What if instead of working those overtime shifts to pay for that motorhome or cruise we get to enjoy for two weeks out of the year, we spent time on a regular basis with the people we'd be going on vacation with anyway? Would employers value their employees more? Would people value their loved ones more? Would we be less attached to material things?

Each moment in life comes by only once. I'm trying to get better at remembering that, and acting accordingly.


Heather @ SGF said...

Great post! I guess this is what I'm trying to achieve with quitting my job. I want to figure out what I'm doing with my life, spend more time with family, learn more about myself - all the things that I felt like I was failing at when I was working. A friend mentioned to me today that she doesn't believe we were ever meant to work so much or so hard. Something is definitely missing from our lives (and it's not more stuff).

Theresa said...

I am so happy for you Heather that you are able to quit your job and work on those other very important things! I don't think jobs are supposed to be the centerpiece of life either.

I'm lucky to have a really good job that I enjoy most of the time, but even so it does burn me out a bit. Wouldn't it be nice if each job came with some kind of pre-pension savings plan that meant you could take a paid sabbatical every 5-7 years and pursue some other worthwhile things?

Heather @ SGF said...

A sabbatical would certainly help many people out of the doldrums of what seems like a "work until you die" world. Professors get that luxury. Why not everyone?

Simply Authentic said...

I wish that society would realize this more and more....and would adapt to let people embrace life more and to truly live for the moments. It's so sad at how our culture is one that is tied up in deadlines and always doing this and that, instead of being able to just stop, breath, and enjoy it. I'm ready for a bit of a "time" shake up around here....

Theresa said...

At my job they have a thing where you can work for 3/4ths pay for two years and then take six months off with pay. That is sounding kind of good these days. I would love to go on a retreat to the Tai Chi center in Ontario, or to the Hollyhock centre on Cortes Island, BC. In the meantime I try and create little gaps of quietude in my life. In some ways I am looking forward to winter again, when there is less going on.