The Time - Money Trap
Even though I ditched my 9to5 job I'm still trapped by this
I’m sitting on a church pew in what probably used to be someone’s living room. This modest single-family home is now Izzy’s Coffee House.
And I have zero desire to write at the moment. I just can’t focus. So please bear with me.
Even though there’s a warm mug of coffee next to my computer all I want to do is curl up in a ball and take a nap. These are the days I wish I had a van I could retreat to.
I don’t. So I can’t. Which means I need to work. And that’s what brings my limited attention to my computer screen at this moment.
I’ve found myself in an interesting paradox. Even though I’ve been here before I’m searching for a way out but I haven’t quite found it yet.
I call it: the time-money trap.
It’s a loop of sorts where I do work to try to make money which never feels like enough so I just work more. And more. And more.
Work in my world knows no bounds. And it suffocates the life right out of me.
Here’s what an average day in my world looks like at the moment:
6:30 am first alarm goes off
6:42 am second alarm
6:55 am third alarm
7:00 am final alarm
7:15 am negotiate with myself that it’s time to get up
7:20 am drive to the gym
7:30 am - 8:30 am workout and shower
8:30 am go find a coffee shop; work
12:00 pm start feeling hungry; go out to my car and eat lunch
12:30 pm find a new coffee shop; work
4:00 pm realize it’s towards the end of the “work day”; start packing up
4:30 pm go out to my car and eat dinner
5:00 pm go find a brewery; keep working
9:00 pm find a place to park for the night
9:05 pm go into stealth mode and change into PJs
9:10 pm watch an episode of my show
10:15 pm shut my eyes and wait for the alarm to tell me it’s time to do it all over again
The “work” I do is unstructured. Freelance writing projects give me deadlines and accountability. But blogging and content creation just kind of floats in the ether. I’m trying to see what works and I know I have to keep trying until something eventually does.
You probably want me to tell you that living on the road is as glamorous as everyone on Instagram makes it out to be. You know, camping at a pull-out perched above the beach. Days of endless hiking.
Somedays it can be like that. But not everyday.
At least not right now.
I’m still stuck in what feels like a hamster wheel, chasing my own tail. Even though I’m physically free — I’m not tied to a job or an apartment lease — my mind is not free. It is still a slave. I’ve simply traded an employer’s 9to5 loop for my own.
Spend time…working to make money…to spend more time….working to make more money…
And on and on.
That’s all it is. The same loop I’ve always known.
That’s one of many reasons I opted to move back into my car again. I want to know where life fits into all of this. Better yet, what is life?
If money weren’t an object what would I even do with my time anyway?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked myself that question. Over and over again.
I don’t have an answer yet because money is an object.
The math is black and white. At some point, I will deplete what money I have. Then what?
That’s the question my mind dwells on. How will I make money today so I can survive tomorrow? How will I make money tomorrow so I can survive the day after that?
Money is the thing I always thought I needed more of to solve that problem.
What I’ve discovered is that money has become my master and I its slave. Its currency is time. A precious, finite resource that’s impossible to recreate.
Hence, the time-money trap.
My heart and soul both know I need to keep going. I am determined to figure out how to live a life free of the time-money trap.
But my mind looks at the numbers and doesn’t see any possible way it could happen.
This is my daily struggle: my mind tells me what is while my heart tells me what could be.
Questions for Deeper Introspection
Have you ever experienced the time-money trap? What did you do (or do you do) to overcome it?
If money weren’t an object, what would you do with your time?
How do you reconcile the wants of your heart with the thoughts in your mind?
Leave a comment if you wish. I think many of us struggle with these questions. And it’s good to know we’re not alone.