As overused (and misused) the term YOLO is, the essence of the catchphrase is a healthy reminder for all of us: Yes, you really do “only live once”. And, as such, it’s important for us to regularly evaluate how we’re spending our time, which really is the only thing we can never get more of. The idea of being “time affluent” isn’t new, but the need to focus on how we spend our time intentionally has become more and more critical over the last two decades. With the inundation of (and addictions to) digital devices, we’re more tempted than ever to spend our time unwisely. And, even when we are being “intentional” with our time, how much of our time each day do we actually spend doing something we’re choosing to do (and that’s healthy for us, too)?
For most of us, we’re conditioned to prioritize a status and title over our lifestyle, which forces us to spend our time each day doing things we don’t necessarily want to do — all in the name of amassing money in our bank accounts. Unfortunately, as we make more money, we tend to spend more money, trapping ourselves in “adulting” responsibilities like mortgages, car payments, subscriptions, childcare costs, etc.
But do these things that we buy with our money actually make us happier?
There’s no denying that some amount of money is needed to be happy. After all, money can buy much-needed essentials and comforts that make life enjoyable. But why do most of us feel the need to continue spending more and more money as soon as we make it? Why do we believe that we constantly need to “upgrade” our lives by committing to more and more financial responsibilities?
According to most research, it isn’t the endless pursuit of money that makes us happy; it’s the time we have.
That’s why more and more people are choosing lifestyle over traditional “adulthood” paths. With the help of technology, it’s more possible than ever to make enough money to live a good life and without trading in all of your time. And even without digital businesses, people are rediscovering how to reclaim their time so that they can live a life they actually enjoy, spending their time the way they please and, especially, with those they love.
This reorientation of priorities is encouraging because it means that, rather than looking at your bank account or job title to determine your happiness, you can instead look at your time and how you get to spend it. Being time affluent is, as it turns out, a much better indicator for overall happiness than money has ever been.
Each day we’re gifted with 24 hours and, the more we get to choose how we intentionally spend that time, the happier — and healthier — we’ll be.