Recently, I listened to a Cantonese song called 陀飛輪. It is about a guy who realizes the value of time. Over the past 18 years, he could not even afford a watch, but he had the time to have fun and enjoy himself. Turning 27, he figured out that there’s not much time left to continue to be lazy.
During this fall, he looked around and found out that he had nearly everything he wanted – expensive wines, sports cars, cameras and even golden watches – making everyone jealous. However, he doesn’t think he’s rich.
He realizes that we don’t need high salaries, high career positions or high-class products to gain people’s respect. At the time when he understands this lesson of time, even if he can go back in time, the day is already dark. Time has already elapsed.
He wonders how many heartbeats he have left. The clock is ticking. At this defining moment, he finally understood what life is all about, that we should treasure the time we have and stop being materialistic.
As the old saying goes, “Money can’t buy happiness.” It’s true. I think people are being more materialistic nowadays. We place too much value on owning things and showing them off to others in order to make an impression, from the newest smart phone to clothing of a famous brand, even though researchers have proved that objects don’t make us happy.
We do live in a wasteful society. We waste time on social media. We waste time designated for rest by staying up late. We waste time worrying about things we have no control over. We waste time by operating in fields that we were not meant to operate in. We waste time by procrastinating. We waste time by not being forward thinkers. We waste time by making long-lasting decisions based on temporary feelings.
“It’s better to go on a vacation than buy a new couch is basically the idea,” says Professor Dunn, summing up research by two fellow psychologists, Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich. He discovered that the only thing to be positively related to happiness was leisure: vacations, entertainment, sports and equipment like golf clubs and fishing poles.
So why not treasure our time and make wise decisions? Whatever it is that you’ve been putting off and waiting to do, do it now! As Michael Altshuler put it, “The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” Take control of your life and enjoy it to the fullest.
Time is free yet it is priceless.
We can’t own it yet we can use it.
We can’t keep it yet we can spend it.
Once we’ve lost it, we can never get it back.