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Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirl gmail daughter com

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Buying Time

Einstein discovers that Time is, in fact, Money.

From Gary Larson's Far Side

Old Bureaucrat, my comrade, it is not you who are to blame.

Noone ever helped you to escape
You, like a termite, built your peace by blocking up with cement every chink and cranny 
through which any light might pierce.
You rolled yourself up into a ball in your genteel security, in routine, in the stifling conventions of provincial life, 
raising a modest rampart 
against the winds and the tides and the stars.

Antoine de Saint Exupery

Buying Time

Free Time. Curious phrase... it can be taken so many ways. Time is a noun, and not too mysterious, at least as applies to our daily lives. But Free???

If we take Free as an adjective, Free Time could mean time unassigned, committed or otherwise unavailable. Time for play, rather than chores. Time for one's own purposes, rather than those of others. Time unencumbered. Time at liberty. Time of one's own, which need not be purchased. One's own sweet time.

Or it could be a verb, and the phrase a statement. An Imperative. Free Time! Free it from prison. From bondage. From slavery. From the clutches of evil-doers. From ourselves.

Ooo. That smarts.

As children, we knew naught of Time and therefore enjoyed the full measure of it. We were then (as now) alive as long as we could remember. The glorious Now was upon us. And the future? Fabulous.

But somewhere along the line we began to lose our innocent ignorance of Time. Somehow, Time went from endless to finite to being in short supply. Moment after moment was usurped from us. Taken from us. Lost to us. And who did this dirty deed? Oh, sure, the usual suspects -- parents, teachers, adults of various persuasions -- they all did their share.

But the sad truth is, we learned to do this to ourselves. We willingly trade the moments of our lives for luxury, security, status. Consumer goods.

Alright, then. We HAD to do it! We HAVE to survive in an economy where Time is Money! We NEED Money to live, and trade our lives for Money. Don't we???

What would Adam Smith do?

First, we have Necessities. Sustenance (clean food, air and water), shelter, health (healthcare). Supply is abundant (in the First World, anyway). Demand, low (one can only reasonably use so much). 

Next, let's look at Time from our perspective. We only get so much of it on this plane. Ask just about any of our elders and you'll find that our Time is far too short, even at the long end. Supply not only finite, but low. Demand indefinite, but clearly high. 

Ol' Adam says this makes our Time valuable to us.

To commercial enterprises, our Time looks different. There is more labor time than they can (or are willing) to use. Supply effectively infinite. Demand finite, running low and looking lower yet in order to cut costs. Value low. Shortages in the supply of particular, skilled labor may nuance the amount they're willing to pay for it upward. But only while supply remains low.

Mmm. Bleak.

But that's not our only choice. If we are aware, once our Necessities have been met, we are able to Free Time! Free, as in the verb, the clarion call, the manifesto!! 

In Your Money or Your Life, Money is defined as life energy. Money. Can't live with it, can't live without. But we can earn and spend consciously. We can choose, beyond Necessities, what is worth our Free Time -- our own, precious store of it -- and what is not.

One way of looking at it is that Anke and I invest Money we don't earn in Free Time. We each have an 'income potential', which, together, amounts to solid middle-class figures. We actually earn less than if one of us were employed, half-time, at minimum wage. 

Yet this is plenty for Necessities, with a healthy surplus for a little sugar 'n' spice. Our sustenance is bought (inexpensively) or foraged. Our boat is shelter. Our health is good (part luck, part low-stress, active living). A few Necessities, simply met. And our future? Fabulous!

The difference between our potential earnings and actual is something like (lowish) six-figures. Per year!! Where does all that unearned Money go? Work-a-days careering into decades of years?? It goes into Free Time, of course. 

Bought and paid for.


  1. All we really have in in life. Spend it wisely.

    It takes conscience effort to guard one's precious time as everyone wants some of it.

    Always good to see people making choices like yours.

  2. Splendid post! Time well spent!
    Fair winds Colin and Nichola. Yacht emerald

  3. Searching for triloboat builders winter 2014 in croatia. Since 30 years enviro activist and renewable energy specialist... But it's time to walk away from empire. We'll try it in the canals of croatia.

    1. Hi Thomas,

      As I recall, the Croatian coast has a world class archipelago, too!

      When you say "searching for builders", are you thinking of having it built professionally?

      Dave Z