Ok, here I am at Subway about to write a blog entitled, “Our Lives Are Our Free Time.” Suddenly, I catch myself thinking, “I HAVE TO eat fast, so I can get going on this blog.”
In the moment, I say, “I HAVE TO eat fast,” I realize that I’m not allowing myself to be free.
In truth, I could choose to spend the next seven hours in Subway savoring each morsel of my sandwich. Then I could spend another couple of hours at home eating the leftovers.*
Now my recognition that I am free to take as long as I want to eat my sandwich is admittedly a small recognition in the grand scheme of recognitions. However, it’s amazing to think of how often we speak to ourselves in the language of “I HAVE TO,” instead of the language of “I choose to.”
When we insist to ourselves that we have to do this or that, we fill our lives with self-created burdensome obligations instead of noticing that we are actually free to choose what we do.
One of our biggest areas where we say, “I HAVE TO” relates to work. How often have you said, “I have to go to work”?
I know being self-employed as a professional speaker and writer; I find myself saying “I HAVE TO” work on a regular basis.
It is often easy to complain about having to work. But when we say we have to go to work, we drastically reduce the hours of our lives in which we have the opportunity to be free.
There are two solutions that I can think of to this dilemma. One solution might be that we could all in mass just decide not to work anymore. (This would probably create worldwide chaos. So, let’s not try it.)
Or we could start considering our whole lives as our free time, even the portion of our lives that we chose to devote to work.
And think about it, we really do choose to work. We choose to work to make the money we need to support the lifestyle we want to live. There is no law saying that we have to live the lifestyle we do. We choose to live the lifestyle we do, so we make the amount of money we need to make to live out our choice.
Seen from this perspective, our lives are our free time. With a portion of that free time, we choose to work. This is a unique way to think about work. May it help us recognize our freedom in everything we do.
* (Note the idea of me eating a sandwich for nine hours is purely hypothetical. At this point in my life, I’m far more likely to spend nine minutes eating a sandwich.)
(Can you imagine what a person would learn about life by spending nine hours eating a sandwich?)
Game of the Day
The next time you are at work, try thinking to yourself, “My life is my free time and I chose to use some of that free time to work.”
For bonus points, say this to three people at work.