I want to be an investor. A person who gathers up as much as I can and then freely lets it go to a worthy cause. So often I wish that I could traditionally invest in those that I already have my heart invested in. I could speed up the dreams of so many of my friends; to write the book or open the business or run the non-profit; if I just had 10 million dollars hidden away somewhere. I’m going to HP world in June, maybe I’ll show up and find a vault with my name on it full of gold to spend on all the dreams of people. I think my wishes mean something, because I am serious about them, and I think my people can see that in the way I spend my time with them. If I’m really lucky then maybe one day investing will look like giving thousands of dollars as I see fit, but for now I’m only an investor of time.
I wish we thought more about the value of spending time. Money has nothing unique about it. One dollar from two different people spends the same, but time/energy/talents donated from different individuals looks so different.
Time is finite. A dollar isn’t unique, but a moment is.
I picture time like a roll of tickets at a 50/50 raffle. You walk around looking for places to sell, one person asks for only one ticket from you, another asks for an arms length. More and more people want in on the action as the night goes on. Tickets begin flying off more quickly than you can count, and the once huge roll becomes smaller and smaller. You’re absorbed in the thrill of interacting with people and fundraising. You’re so distracted exchanging your tickets for their money that you look away from the ever shrinking ticket roll. You get closer and closer to the cardboard the little rectangles were spun around at whatever factory they came from, and suddenly they’re gone.
No more little colored bits of paper to sell, no more numbers to call out. You’re done. Now what?
There’s obviously an after. You get to rejoin your family to watch the end of the football game, or finish your spaghetti dinner. But did you enjoy the during? Were you so focused on the money that you missed everything else? Did you feel thankful for the man that gave you $100 and told you to keep the change? Did you hear the elderly woman who said you reminded her of her daughter and know from her voice what a high compliment that was? Did you think about the purpose of your arms length transactions? Or did you use that arms length to separate yourself from being present?
Investors choose where their money goes. If I’m an investor of time, am I giving it to a worthy cause? Am I spending it on teaching and learning and loving, and dreams and goals and passions of people? Am I selling my tickets in a way that makes me feel good and produces positive change?
Maybe you and I have different ideas of what is a worthy cause, but at the end of days when my back hurts and my eyes are falling shut in exhaustion, I can look at my choices and see clearly whether I was a good investor. I just have to think about the tickets I sold and the person I sold them to. The proof is in the memory of our interaction, and the feeling that stuck behind that memory. It’s OK that I can’t spread money around right now. I’m not real financially minded anyway, and a memory is way easier to read than a fiscal report.
Until next time friends, here’s hoping you look at your ticket sales and see the truth in your investment.