Show me the money
Years ago, I was having a run-of-the-mill conversation with my dad as we worked on folding laundry. I was beginning to feel the pressures of selecting the perfect college, followed by selecting the perfect major.
However, there was a flaw in my perfect thinking. I explained to my dad that I wanted to choose something that would guarantee security for the rest of my life.
Where the happiness grows
My dad explained to me that studies have shown that people who classify as middle-income tend to be happier than those who make ridiculously big bucks. I did some research myself on these so-called studies and found his claims to be true.
Since then, I always had that idea in the back of my mind. Rather than thinking a certain lifestyle will make me happy, I now know that creating a lifestyle of what makes me happy is more important.
Time = happiness
And, these studies continue, and have expanded, years after our conversation. Brian Resnick reports that people are happier when they value time over money.
This, to me, makes perfect sense. If we’re spending all of our time to make money, when is there ever anytime for enjoyment?
The battle in daily decisions
This is true when making decisions outside of work. Recently, I was on the phone with a friend making plans to visit his new place. His apartment, located two hours south of me, is in an area where there are multiple methods of transportation available.
I was weighing my options to take the train (which would require an additional train ride to get to the main train station) or to drive (which seemed silly because I had someone available to give me a ride home.)
“What would make more sense cost-wise?” my friend asked.
“Well, they pan out about the same.” I replied.
“Then I say drive,” he said. “You’d spend two additional hours taking the train. Your time is way more valuable, even if there was a slight difference in price.”
Time trumps money
I knew he was right. The simple act of taking the train would eat up two hours of my day, time that could be spend enjoying myself with my friend.
And, someday, hopefully years from now, when I’m on my deathbed, will I want to remember enjoying an elongated afternoon with my friend or sitting alone on a train looking at memes?
In the end…
Money is always great to have, but, as we go through life, time has a way of becoming more fleeting. And, while it’s important to take care of ourselves and our families financially, overlooking the aspect of taking care of ourselves emotionally can often be detrimental.
While I am not overlooking the fact that we don’t always have the luxury of choosing time over money (as explored by Resnick,) it is important to keep this in mind when making small decisions where money may be less of an object. Taking small steps to aid toward overall happiness should always be the goal.