I don't think anyone on their deathbed thinks, "I wish I had more money." But I guarantee that most people think, "I wish I had more time." No one really knows when their time will come. It may be today, tomorrow, or 50 years from now (I am hoping for 50 years...). Of course I have had plenty of time that I wished for more money. Who hasn't? Living paycheck to paycheck, one small setback away from financial disaster can be stressful. But the last few years I have realized just how much more I value my time. Almost two years ago I lost a job that I loved, and payed well. They closed the department, so I was out the door. It was a great job, but a lot of hours.
Once I was unemployed, after many years of 40+ hours a week, having time to spend on myself and with my family was a revelation. My income was cut considerably, but I was happier. When I found a new job the pay was lower, and I made the decision to not work 5 days a week. Despite continual pressure from the employer I have staunchly insisted that I stay part time. Why? Because time. Time has become so much more vital to my well being than money. Yes, I am poor financially. But I am rich in time. Time for myself and my family. I think a lot of people think I have slipped my gears by choosing to live on the edge instead of pursuing the almighty dollar.
I spent far too many years working hard to make money for someone else. I slaved, sweated, stressed, and burned myself out for the benefit of someone else's bank roll. I have never made great money at any job, and the few times I tried to force the issue I was shot down. Never payed what I was worth, so always feeling like I was less valuable, Now I know better. I am priceless. I am more valuable than any dollar amount. I won't be tempted by dollar signs. I would rather live at what is considered poverty level and have some freedom. No, not totally free, I do still have to spend several days slaving, sweating, stressing, and burning myself out for the benefit of someone else's bank roll, but it is more on my terms than their's.
A few days ago a plan came to fruition. A financial boon that I set in motion several months ago, What amounts to a federal grant that will allow me to take every penny and throw it at my debt for the next year. I estimate that I will be completely out of debt, except for my mortgage, in 9 months or so. Can you imagine? Debt free? I am about losing my mind with glee. Debt free will give me a level of freedom that I have never had. All my adult life there has been some level of debt hanging over my head. Yes, my debt is minimal compared to most, but then so is my income. Now I look ahead, planning where my meager income will go. Excited to be able to pay off student loans, my two credit cards, catch up on all bills, pay off the IRS. Yes, I am freaking a little bit. It seems too good to be true.
Where does this leave me? With Time. Time to spend as I choose. Time, which is far more valuable than any material possession. Time to play with grandchildren, time to spend with family, time to work on my house, time to train my body and my mind. And in the end, isn't that what we all really want? Time?