ICYMI: One thing that the supply of Bitcoin and how long we will each live have in common is that the amounts are both definite.
The significant difference between them, though, is that with Bitcoin we know what that number is...
Many of us have had to spend a lot of time on our own, or corralled with a very small group of the same people, over recent months, as a result of the pandemic and the resultant lockdowns. This has led to a lot of introspection.
A lot of people rightly feel like they have lost a year (plus) of their lives. If you're studying, sitting exams, pursuing professional qualifications or advancement than that could be a fair comment but whilst it could have a monetary impact, it is usually something that can be recouped, at least in part.
By equal measure how about those who have seen their businesses suffer, not been able to see or spend time with other family members or close friends, missed reunions or trips to concerts with long booked tickets after months of anticipation, emigration opportunities, work offers, there are just too many examples.
The one commonality here is that we have all 'lost time'. And that is fundamentally incorrect. We still got that time, it wasn't lost, it just ended up being used for some other purpose than had been the original plan or expectation.
So how do we value time and is it fair to make it all about a monetary or some intrinsic worth that it possesses?
A lot of the language we use (in English, I confess at this point) is loaded with connotations of value and productivity:
time is money
waste of time
a good use of your time
an hour I will never get back
find time for yourself
there is still time
Even the way we talk implies a value relationship between time and money..."are you free?", for instance, suggests that the time of the one giving it has now assumed greater value for the receiver than if they used it for themselves.
Likewise, a 'good timekeeper' is extolled as virtuous, whilst a bad one isn't! A 'fleeting moment' is seen as some joyous event of unbridled happiness, whilst the opposite is portrayed as 'an eternity in hell'.
And on the language of time we need to accept and recognize that people are different and that may not mean that they don't have a like value system, just that they take longer to engage, I loved this one I saw recently:
How should you or can you even really put a value on time?
At one end of the scale, you get all the 'time is relative', Einstein and the time space continuum malarkey, whilst at the brutish other end you have the minimum wage and determining a person's economic worth based on the time 'bought' from them.
Yet we have a changing relationship with time that alters our perception of its worth, over time. A kid thinks that an hour, a day is forever, but a year can pass in an instance as you get older. (How many of us have wished someone a Happy Birthday following a prompt from a social media platform, only to realize that the last time you 'communicated' with them was to send the same message exactly one year previously?).
However, there is a use of time that does relate, in a positive way, with monetary terminology, and that is when you invest it.
An hour of exercise today will play dividends in later years, taking time to sit and listen to others, educate yourself, spend time with partners and younger people (offspring or otherwise) is time so well invested. You may not see the benefit because it doesn't all 'accrue' to you, understand the impact it has for others.
Sleep is incredibly important, but how many of us think that it is like a cookie jar that we can raid as and when needed until we need to top it up. It doesn't work like that, sleep time isn't time lost, it is a very necessary investment in tomorrow and beyond.
Recently, a very close and dear friend of mine was catapulted into a medical scenario that threatened their life. Literally could have been a 'draw the curtain' on things. The 'End of Time' is apocalyptic...running out of time (a 'commodity' as you effectively categorized it) is literally 'the end'.
During the course of their treatment, they were advised to 'do nothing' by a clinical physician, to literally sit down and spend time every day doing absolutely nothing, Now whilst fatigue was one of the side effects of the treatment prescribed, this was as much about investing the time to appreciate things around you and to develop a real sense of perspective as it was about resting up.
The doctor even suggested making a sign and putting it up in their house to remind them. Being the creative individual that they are, my friend took it one stage further and made this:
How's that for 'adding value' by doing nothing? Each to their own, doing nothing is entirely the choice of the individual but can be a very productive use of your time.
Likewise, doing everything can be an equally worthless exercise. Charging through your day, your life just ticking boxes...'been there, done that', "I've got two of those", we all know these people!
In the aftermath of the pandemic and the return of travel, let's hope there is a continuing drift towards experiential tourism, non-intrusive, no souvenir collecting, just seeing things rather than touching them for the sake of it. Invest time in the future of our planet...we all discovered how good the nature programmes were during lockdown, after all. Don't be a box ticker!
The simple truth is that you cannot get time back, it cannot be replaced or replayed, once it has passed it is gone forever and in that regard it has no value, not because it is worthless but because no amount of money (or bitcoins) can give you it back....in that sense, it is, indeed, priceless!
And my friend, how are they doing? Better, thank you...but not by buying time but by investing time in understanding their condition, canvassing contrary opinions about treatment, pushing back against conventional wisdom (but accepting it when appropriate) and by following the scientific guidance. It's an investment that will pay off for them and those around them for decades, hopefully.
Take care and take the time to look after the truly important things in life...before, and in case, they run out on you!