Why time is the one gift we need to guard jealously

Image: 123RF/Lucian Coman

There is nothing like ending up in hospital on a drip because you are stressed and tired.

Yet a few weeks ago that was me. It is so easy to get lost in the constant chasing of our tails that is our professional lives. We live fast- paced lives in this concrete jungle.

How many times have you heard someone talk about having back-to- back meetings all day? How many people glamorise the fact that they live out of their suitcases, travelling so much for work?

I have had to do a quick recon of my life, again, because this is not the first time I find myself in this situation. And maybe I am just weak and other people have a lot more going on than me, but it is a weakness I am willing to embrace.

While I was reeling from finding myself on a hospital bed again, I came across a debate around what millionaires and billionaires did with their time.

I chuckle all the time when I stumble upon nonsense like "we all have the same 24 hours" or "billionaires don't sleep". How have we found ourselves balls and clits between the gnarly, ugly teeth of capitalism?

Yes, we need to make a living, but do we need to die doing it?

I have become very guarded with my time, to the point of being of being jealous with it. I prefer to spend it doing the things I enjoy and with people I enjoy being with. Where does this leave work? In a tightly managed box. I deal with what needs to be dealt with in the moment and try not to stress about anything else. I hate working under pressure.

One of the hazards of my job is people asking to meet to pitch their ideas (insert a dramatic eye roll here).

On the phone last week, someone I had never met said to me that while he had seen that there was an email address where he could submit, he preferred to meet me so he could convince me of the merits of his pitch. I calmly explained to him that I am unable to meet everyone who has an idea as a time management tool. His response, snappish and meant to shame me, was, "are you saying you don't have the time?" I said yes, and he put the phone down on me.

Why do people feel so entitled to other people's time, especially in this instance where I am still accessible, just not in the way he prefers?

The world is constantly moving and most times I find it OK to let it move around me so I can have the presence of mind to take inventory of what is important in my life, whether it be loved ones or leisure. I forget this from time to time, and I hope it doesn't take yet another hospital bed to remind me that my time belongs to me first and foremost.

I will never be able to get back any time I spend carelessly. And time is the one thing capitalism does not afford you.

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