How valuable is Time?

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Time is one of the most impressive phenomena, whose very existence is mind-boggling, and whose essence is undoubtedly one of the greatest mysteries of the universe. Like space and energy, time is a complex existence which cannot be created or destroyed. The mere imagination of destroying time (or removing it from existence) is intellectually impossible and beyond human cognition. A world without space or energy can also not be imagined. Space cannot be destroyed, nor can it be wiped away from existence.

While time remains a phenomenon whose very essence isn’t known, the mere belief that time can be wasted, is being wasted, can be saved or is being saved is rather absurd. By its very nature, time is endless; it is a renewable resource like water and the sun. Yet, we never worry about wasting water or solar energy. Time is just a phenomenon whose very essence is unknown; it cannot be possessed, although it can be utilized for financial gain. It should therefore be known that the idea of wasting time is flawed, as can be shown by the following examples. 

  • While you consider Tom’s act of blogging and creation of wonderful artworks a waste of time, Tom sees them to be quite fulfilling, and therefore does not believe he is wasting his time. What you consider to be meaningless and ridiculous, Tom considers to be meaningful. The difference is perspective.
  • Patrick is very rich and believes you are wasting your time working as a waiter in a local restaurant. You do not really envy wealthy folks, and prefer a modest life. You find waiting at the restaurant a fulfilling job, therefore you do not think you are wasting your time.
  • Nathan has built two mansions, owns seven expensive cars, and has four children. He believes Greg is wasting his time being a middle-school teacher who earns a meager salary. Greg, on the other hand, does not believe that he is wasting his time because he finds teaching children quite fulfilling, has no interest in having children of his own, and could make do with a bungalow and a homely wife.
  • Jane obtained her Bachelor’s degree at the age of nineteen, got a lucrative job two months later, and is presently a senior manager in a popular company. She thinks Anna, a thirty five years old single mom who is still studying at the university, is wasting her time. Anna, on the other hand, is quite content with her life, and doesn’t believe she’s wasting her time.

 From all these examples I have given, I think it is clear that time cannot be wasted. Being in a less desirable state in life doesn’t mean your life is any less meaningful. Do not be deluded into thinking that financially successful and highly recognized people in your society are happier and more fulfilled in their lives. They, like everybody else, are clueless about the true essence of life. And since we do not understand the true essence of time, which is tantamount to not understanding the true essence of life, it is impossible to waste time. 

You may choose to regard many of your experiences in life as a waste of time or choose to consider them as vital lessons learnt in your lifetime. If you view the journey of your life as though it were a story filled with the beautiful parts and the ugly parts, rather than as a rat-race, you will find your life more enriching and fulfilling. 

In this world, every single one of us (no matter how much we try to deny it) is clueless about why we exist and is just trying to survive and be happy. Everything we do is to be happy. We want money, desire friendships, seek a romantic partner, wish to travel across the world, all to be happy. Therefore, time used up being happy is never a wasted time. However, it could be a wasted time to you depending on how you choose to perceive it.​

So, how valuable is time? Time is just as valuable as you make it. You decide whether it’s valuable or not. You decide how it is valuable to you. If you think picking tomatoes for many years means using your time wisely, that’s alright. The question, ‘How valuable is time?’ is similar to the question, ‘What is the purpose of life?’