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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Time

I had a birthday last week. I love my birthday, even at my age, because I think of it as my own personal holiday. I make it all about me, and the people around me tend to allow and perpetuate the indulgence. I had to do math (never fun for me) to figure out how old I am because I tend to forget at this point. I think beyond a certain age the numbers become less relevant. I remember how excited I was when I turned 10 because because I was "finally double digits", and the excitement of 13 because I was a "real teen-ager". I remember my not-so-sweet 16, and the ambivalence of turning 21; "Yeah! I can drink legally", but big whoopdee-doo for someone who grew up on the Canadian border;-)

I don't really mind getting older because of the learning curve. My daughter asked me once if I missed my 20's...oh HELL no. I've learned a lot since then, not the least of which is how much there is yet to learn, and I wouldn't go back for anything. In our 20's we tend to know it all. Funny how that works:-) To say I didn't have my priorities straight would be an understatement too. Let's just say I logged some serious mirror time between my single-parenting duties. Funny how when I started worrying more about what was on the inside, the outside, and what people thought of it, seemed far less relevant. I think young people almost always have to go through the 'mirror' phase, but I don't miss it.

One thing I will say about getting older is that time seems to move faster. We understand that there is nothing we could own and no amount of money as valuable as our time. It's something nobody can give us, and yet we are so cavalier about how little we sell our hours and days for. We allow ourselves and our time to be undervalued by others because we undervalue ourselves. It's so common that it's largely unquestioned, and we consider ourselves lucky that somebody else is willing to pay us for our time at all. But each hour, each minute, it's OURS and we can't ever get it back. We think crazy thoughts like "sometimes we have to make sacrifices and that's just what we've gotta do". Um, do we? Or could we just stop being all martyred long enough to realize that we are all good at something, we all have dreams and goals and nobody's dreams and goals are greater or less than anybody else's. So if we're selling our time in pursuit of someone else's success, shouldn't that be worth something? If I want to pursue something free or dirt cheap because it has personal value to me (like this blog), that is my choice, my decision to make. But if I am in pursuit of someone else's goal I expect to be appropriately compensated for my time. MY time. On the flipside of this situation, if you can't adequately or fairly compensate someone for the time they are giving to pursuit of YOUR success, then you should probably do it all yourself. If you can't, then you may want to reevaluate the importance of your workforce and compensate them accordingly. I'm just sayin'. There's a karmic bit to this too. And believe you me, I know all about giving my time away for a pittance. Never again. It's amazing how the Universe cooperates when you finally decide that you are worth MORE.

We all are. We each have to take responsibility for deciding what we are worth, and to do so unapologetically. We are each the Kings or Queens of our own time and ourselves, and there's no price worth giving that away for a pittance. Too many times I've heard someone say "I guess that's good enough" or "at least I have a job". I think that's fine-temporarily. If you just need to get from point A to point B until you can do something worthwhile, well, that's life sometimes. Sometimes compensation isn't monetary, and that's okay too if it's giving something back to you. Some things are even better than money if you have what you need. Settling for years though, not cool. Getting comfortable with being underpaid and undervalued is one of the saddest ways to spend your time that I could ever imagine. But you have to believe in possibilities to pursue your own goals, and years of being undervalued by yourself and others can all but destroy that ability. Sometimes years of being told that you work hard and if you're lucky you have what you need, but BIG successes are for OTHER people is the mantra to overcome. But ultimately, this time is yours and mine and the choices are ours to make. Cool, huh?

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