Many of us have lived with the philosophy that “time is money”. Until recently, every unproductive moment was wasted time and, therefore, wasted money. And we constantly fought for the mythical work-life balance. 2020 has turned that lifestyle upside down.
Now, all we have available to us is time, our most valuable resource. Of course, it’s not necessarily “free” time. Many are homeschooling kids, working from home with spouses and endeavoring to keep their teams on the payroll – it’s a new kind of grind. But all that reclaimed commute time has slowed the pace at home for many in my community. There is more time for home cooked meals, home projects, and a few more hours of ever elusive rest.
Two quarantine camps
So, what do we do? Immediately start asking if we are “quarantining the right way”. I’ve observed two distinct quarantine camps. Camp One is aggressively getting to work on their bucket list – training for their first half marathon while learning a new language and getting that side hustle off the ground. Camp Two contends that we are in the biggest crisis of our lives and should be in mental survival mode. Conserve every thought, breath, step. Each day should be goal-free and judgement-free. Do what feels good and don’t put any pressure on yourself to do anything more than what gets you to the next day.
The majority of us aren’t exclusively in either camp…but perhaps some days you fall asleep in One, ready to take the next day head on, but wake up in Two, just trying to find the coffee and sit back down. The swings between these two experiences can be dizzying and make us feel like we are not being true to our core values.
I believe there’s a place in between these two camps for each of us. Our time is still our most precious resource and, right now, we can invest it in a manner that best fits with our core values. I’m finding it helpful to ask myself this question – In 10 years, how do I want to look back on my investment?
For each of us, the possibilities will be very different. Was this when I started my daily meditation habit? Or was it when I found my love of running? Maybe I made family dinners part of my daily life and have deeper connections with the kids who grew up way too fast. And maybe this slowdown was when I took the first step toward reaching that one goal I thought was just out of reach.
We’re being reminded that there are many things beyond our control. But knowing what we don’t control helps reveal what we do! Billy Cox said, “The two things in life you are in total control over are your attitude and your effort”. If we choose to invest in ourselves and our families, we might just find joy through the hardships.
What am I doing?
So, down to it. How am I investing in myself? First, I’m a runner, so exercise has always been about maximum effort in the shortest amount of time. Recently, though, I’ve started doing daily yoga. In my “time is money” tunnel, this felt like a waste because I wasn’t burning the most calories possible. But it’s starting to catch on…and it’s not easy! If you’re curious, I’ve been using an app called Down Dog.
Second, and something I’m very excited about, is taking the first steps to become a Certified Financial Planner professional (CFP®). If you didn’t call it already, I’m squarely in Camp One, but seeking more Camp Two, stop and smell the roses experiences. For me, it’s being true to my core belief in growth. I’m investing in myself, sure, but I’m also investing my time to offer our clients the best experience possible. I’m motivated to come out of this time even better equipped to help others weather future storms. There’s that Camp One talk again.
Perhaps the most important reminder has come from those more inclined to slow down – to give myself grace. It’s not always – or ever – easy to give yourself grace. None of us can tackle big goals every day. Like the slower pace of life, we can take small steps toward our goals. And, with so much trial and error all around us (we’ve all been on at least one Zoom train wreck in recent weeks), what better time to risk failing at something new? You’ll be in good company! If we experiment, try new things and are prepared to laugh at ourselves, we may find lasting growth.
The “Alterra” name was coined by joining the Latin roots “alter”, the origin of the word “altruism” with “terra” meaning earth or land. This name reflects the company philosophy of “clients before profits” and providing firmly grounded advice.