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Spending Time

Saturday I left the house mid-morning to catch our son’s college basketball game with a quick dinner afterwards, dropped the in-laws off and got home eight hours after I left. We casually spend time like this without a thought, for it’s the essence of life. Time spent on a worthwhile investment. At least to me.

I once worked for a man who blocked time as A, B or C time. “A” time was normal business hours, say 8 to 5 PM, when you’d hustle like everyone else. “B” time was before 8 AM and after 5 PM, when you’d catch opportunities at the edges. “C” time, to him, was where you would become “successful”. It was the weekends and late weeknight time that normal, balanced people spent time with their families, or exercising, going to church or engaging in meaningful, non-work activity. For him “C” time was when you leapt past your competition and did the extra work needed to win. He fired me when I chose to go on a family vacation instead of working. He was summarily dismissed several months later when the rest of the world realized they despised him. I feel a little sorry for him.

Which of us was wrong in how we choose to spend our time? It depends on what you prioritize in your own life. I don’t prioritize my career over my family, but do the best I can with the time I spend in it. I’ve had a decent career despite my egregious use of B and C time. Go figure. I rarely think about the guy I worked for anymore, but he taught me an important lesson at a crossroads in my career ten years ago: Life is too short to work for assholes.

Last night as I was evaluating my time spent during the day, I thought to myself that half the weekend was gone and what had I really accomplished? My answer; I’d spent my time well, in the company of people I wanted to be with. A worthwhile investment of precious time. Will my choice enable me to squash my competition? Get promoted? Make more money? Ultimately I’m richer for having spent the time of other pursuits. I’ve learned not to focus on what other people do with their time, even when I don’t understand it. Sometimes this actually works.

As we approach Thanksgiving in the United States, it once again presents an opportunity to spend precious time. Four-day weekends in this country are rare indeed. So with this much time, how to spend it? Use the time for a trip to a faraway place? Use it for chasing sales at stores desperate to separate you from your money? Binge watch a Netflix series? Sequester yourself away from others in your happy place? Or maybe spend that time with people you don’t see enough? I know what I’ve chosen, and anticipate a wonderful time.

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