Who do you spend your time with?
Recently I came across this sobering set of data about who Americans spend their time with.1 It serves as a stark reminder that as life goes on, your relational network decreases and you can become more and more isolated.
Our first several decades are often full of family, friends, and co-workers. In the latter part of life, time with others radically narrows and time with yourself increases.
I was thinking about this in terms of how we talk about money and time as something we spend. We spend our time at work or in hobbies. We spend our money on food or bills. You get the idea.
Sometimes we save up money via savings accounts or retirement accounts so that we have more to spend in the future.
Sadly, we are prone to counting on time being there to spend with loved ones that may never actually happen. We put it off and settle for a later nebulous date. Think about the way we talk to people:
“We should get together sometime.”
“That was a blast, we should do it again.”
“I’ll give you a call sometime.”
Notice it’s all should.
No specificity. No plan.
In order to save money for retirement, you have to actually contribute the money. In order to spend time with people you love, you actually have to do it.
It may be that you need to quit saving some money and start spending some money on spending time with those you love. If you can, why not increase the spending of money in a way that increases the time you spend with those you love.
- Have you been putting off seeing old friends? Set aside money to plan a trip with friends for 2023.
- Have you been putting off that once in a lifetime wedding anniversary celebration year after year? You aren’t getting any younger, and, sadly, due to health challenges and death, that opportunity is not guaranteed.
- Have you not seen your kids and grandkids in a while? Pay for a memorable trip for a week or two with the whole family. Go big.
Time is short and there is a limited amount of it to spend in this lifetime.
One writer puts it this way:
Assuming you live to be eighty, you’ll have had about four thousand weeks…make it to ninety, and you’ll have had almost 4,700 weeks…
…not only are our four thousand weeks constantly running out, but the fewer of them we have left, the faster we seem to lose them.”2
Since life feels like it speeds up as the decades fly by, don’t neglect spending money in a way that spends time with those you love. Write down this week who you will spend more time with on the back half of this year.
Yes, invest your money. And consider doing it with us.
But don’t forget to invest your time with others too.
- Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, pages 3, 7.