Every day we exchange energy and time. Money too, but I think sometimes energy and time are even more important resources than money, yet we give them more freely than money without realising their value.
If a friend asked me for $50 I might pause to consider if I could really afford it that week, but a near stranger can easily get me to part with 20 minutes worth of time in pointless conversation in the supermarket car park. I could possibly find another $50, but I can’t ever get back 20 minutes of my life.
As I have become more aware of this I have started guarding my time and energy fiercely. 20 minutes is a walk, a stretching session, a meditation, a proper meal prepared, a chapter or two of a book read, a meaningful conversation with someone important in my life. I don’t want to fritter it away at the supermarket or staring open-mouthed at some drivelly so-called news item about a cloud formation that looks like Elvis.
I feel utter frustration when I get to the end of the day and that book is still mocking me, my muscles are stiff and I had toast for dinner because I did not guard my time during the day. I gave it freely to someone or something else and now I’ve run out. This is more a more accurate description than the usual ‘I didn’t have time.’ I did have time, but I mindlessly gave it away to unplanned low value activities.
The same goes for energy. Mental energy as well as physical energy. Worrying about stuff and ruminating about stuff robs me of energy, focus and sometimes even sleep and leaves me feeling like I’ve done three rounds with an annoyed bear.
If it doesn’t directly involve me, if no-one expressly asked me for my opinion, then there’s no need for me to stew about it. I need to back away from the drama and free up my brain cells for something more aligned with the mental state I am trying to achieve.
Sometimes clawing back control over my time and energy feels like a monumental battle. It is a battle worth fighting though, because my time is my life. I am literally fighting for my life.