“Time is free, but it's priceless.
You can't own it, but you can use it.
You can't keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you've lost it you can never get it back.”
~ Harvey MacKay
When we look back on our years, we don't count the money we spent and determine if it was a good or bad purchases, we think about the time we spent, both the good times and the wasted times.

Since time is a currency like money, though abstractly, then how we would spend it? At birth if we were given a watch that had the hours left of our life, what would we buy with our time? Many in the simplicity movement and in well regarded book, Your Money or Your Life, take a look at the impact our time has on the things we buy. Is buying the $1000 TV worth the 50 hours at work to pay it off or is the $500 TV a better investment of our time?
flickr/cc - sirspacepilot
This idea of buying and selling time is being made into a Sci-Fi movie to be released in Fall 2011. In the movie, the not-too-distant future "everybody has a clock on their left wrist. It doesn't start counting until you reach maturity, and then you start out with a year. The clock counts down how many years, days, hours and seconds you have to live, and as long as you keep adding time to it, you can live forever. Most people in this world only have a day to live at any given time, and have to keep scrambling to add more time to their wrists before it runs out."

In the movie, the time you have left buys you the basic needs in life like food, shelter, and transportation. And just like money, your time/life can be stolen by someone getting the "upper hand" on you. They do this buy putting their watch over the top of yours and sucking time from you into their life.

It is a interesting interpretation that I look forward to viewing next year because in my own life I consider these concepts on occasion. Is the money, and time at work, worth the extra cost a longer time in the hot shower for me? And since finding that table by the dumpster, it will save me from the overtime at work to pay for a new or used one.

In the movie, called Now, we see the affects that thieves, inflation and greed play on this currency of time/life, and this is where the value of time finally comes home. With our currency of money,when there is a bank error, we know the money is not ours and have no troubles about giving it back because we can still go on with our lives. But with the movie, this is the time left on your life that you are fighting for.

As I was reading through the spoilers for this movie, I considered different advantages to leading a life in the now or waiting and then flip on the scarcity switch as my time ticks to a close. What we have around us in possessions and memories, have they been worth giving up a precious life in order to get what we want?

Other movies with a similar plot:
✄ Logan's Run - In the year 2274, the world's urban centers have been abandoned due to ecological disaster, and the remaining population has forged a society in a domed city, where no one is allowed to live past age 30. Michael York stars as a population control agent who, nearing the age of 30, goes on the run to avoid certain death, and Richard Jordan plays his ex-partner determined to hunt him down.

✄ The Island - Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson as members of a strictly regulated indoor futuristic colony who hope to win the lottery, a contest in which the grand prize is a trip to a Utopian island. It's reportedly the last uncontaminated place on Earth. But a startling discovery about the true nature of "the Island" -- and their very existence -- leads the two to stage a desperate escape to the outside world.

✄ Clockstoppers
✄ Click


  1. Mrs. J // Monday, December 06, 2010 10:43:00 AM  

    I really like this post. I've come to realize that my time is more valuable than money. I used to work 16 hour days, and I was very unhappy. Now I work much more reasonable 8-10 hour days, and I have time to do the things I enjoy and make memories with my loved ones. I'm much happier valuing my time.

  2. Dawn // Monday, December 06, 2010 1:32:00 PM  

    @Mrs J
    I would have to concur. Working 12 hour days for 5 years did me in - no more.

  3. Corina // Monday, December 06, 2010 2:12:00 PM  

    I really like this post as well. Time is invaluable and simply by mentioning the story of the upcoming film you give us a realization of just how precious time is. If it were traded for money, it would take so much more away from us than money currently does.

  4. free stuff // Wednesday, December 08, 2010 9:03:00 AM  

    Time is indeed priceless, and to think, we spend most of our lives doing useless and pointless things.

  5. Jonathan Poland // Sunday, December 12, 2010 8:54:00 AM  

    Buying and selling time being made into a movie?! First dreams, now time... LOL