What you are, they once were. What they are, you will be.
—The inscription on the Crypt of the Capuchin Monks at the Santa Marie della Concezione, a church at the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome
Those few words capture how the past and future collapse upon the present.
Each of us shares a journey that we simultaneously embrace and deny, yet know that, inevitably, our time here is finite. We share an ultimate destiny that in the blink of cosmic eye, it will end uniquely, definitively. Time reminds us more to live passionately, less to prepare for death.
The paradox of time is the same as the paradox of money: our attitudes toward each have a profound impact on our lives.
Unlike money and things of value, we can neither possess nor accrue time. Once a moment has passed, it is gone forever. Time is our most valuable commodity. Yet we may give little thought to how we spend it.
Spending money is tangible. Spending time is intangible. We can save money, yet cannot save time. Time passes however we choose to spend it, whether or not we are subjectively and objectively aware of our choices.
Every moment of our lives, we spend our time. An economic principle of opportunity cost offers a perspective on time expenditure. If you spend $100 on Apple stock, you have opted to not invest that money in another company, to not otherwise spend or save it. What you choose to do costs the opportunity to do something else. This opportunity cost acknowledges that resources are finite, and that there is an “expense” associated with choosing one option over another.
The opportunity cost of our decisions about time is omnipresent. The choice may be simply the next best action: how to wisely spend our time. What we choose and how we invest time eclipses other possibilities of the use of that time. Unlike money, we can’t make more time.