spending time

Spend your time wisely: Whom do we spend our time with across a lifetime?

Our time is precious. With each and everyone we hold dear, we must learn to share our time wisely. Let's take a look at some of the most important people with whom we spend time and share our life.

Recently, Our World in Data completed a survey of ten years to understand who most Americans spent their time with. The results were surprising and grounded in some hard facts. While the survey may have been done on Americans, the idea of spending time with certain types of people holds true for all of us globally. Some truths are simply hard to ignore – that we have our parents for a fixed time only, that children grow up way too quickly, that good friends last longer and that working with people you like makes the work better.

Long gone are the days of childhood when time was in abundance and could be used leisurely. In an era which is full of technological advancements, we humans are parallelly plagued with lifestyle diseases and mental health issues like anxiety. Our time has never been more in demand, with every task begging for a piece of our attention. We seem to be running against time to do the things we love and love the people we hold dear. A 10-year study has made it abundantly clear that whom we spend our time with makes us who we are.

Soulveda looks at some of the most important people with whom we spend time and share our life.

Time spent with parents

Spending time with family comes on top of the list for most of us and yet, we struggle to make the best of it due to our busy lifestyles. Indeed, we tend to have the most interesting relationship with our parents. Our birth givers raise us for the first two decades of our lives and yet, we seem to be in denial of the values and lessons learnt from them. For instance, we may have been told the value of money or education by our parents for years and years, but we tend to dismiss them. However, that learning comes back to us when we as adults take a big financial plunge or get that big professional break. In short, much of what we receive from our parents is taken for granted. And by the time we grow up and realise how golden their lessons are, things have already changed. Either our parents have grown really old or we have drifted apart.

The results shared by the survey emphasises on this. It states that spending time with family peaks at 20 and then declines sharply. This means after 20, we get precious little time to spend with them. To cherish these moments with them then seems to be of  essence. So look for opportunities to visit your folks and double the value of the time spent by doing things you love as a family. Revisit happy memories and indulge in simple gestures like keeping in touch over the phone regularly. These things go a long way in maximising this beautiful relationship you have from birth.

Time spent with friends

Imagine the role of Hermione in Harry Potter’s life, Enid in Wednesday Addam’s life or Monica in Rachel Green’s life. Our friends are the family we choose, goes the popular saying. The world over, people speak the language of friendship. It is the single most powerful thing to know there is a person who gets you on a good day or bad. Who we spend our time with becomes truly glorious when the friends we make are genuine and mindful. Honest, smart, confident and kind people make for great friends who cheer and support us in our endeavours and chide us when needed. They are like a mirror that reflects our best version back to us.

Spending time with friends changes our lives for the better by inspiring us to do more and compete in a healthy manner. Having friends who are a bad influence make life worse. We tend to take rash or wrong decisions and give into peer pressure too much. According to the survey, time spent with friends peaks at 18 but sees a sharp decline as we age and have more responsibilities. So it makes perfect sense to have friendships that are deep and run the course in good times and bad. Learn to invest wisely.

Time spent with co-workers

You may like them or you may not like them, but you have to work with them. Believe it or not but co-workers are people we spend a huge amount of time with. According to the study, our primary working years between the ages of 20 and 60 are spent around our co-workers.

Now, this doesn’t mean we have to love all the co-workers we work with. However, since our workplace is the ground where we practise what we enjoy while earning a livelihood, it is important we share that space with like-minded people. Having great colleagues go a long way in keeping us loyal at the places we work in. Interestingly, some people even vouch for friendships made at work. They admit they can bear a mad pace at work or difficult bosses only because of their colleague turned buddy.

Since we spend nearly 4 decades of our lives around co-workers, it is important to choose work and co-workers who share our rhythm and ideals work-wise. Not only does that create lesser friction and rifts, but it also leads to solid results caused by effective teamwork. Having good co-workers also means lesser stress and anxiety that are work or team-related. So learn to gauge people you work with and find out if you are on the same page with them as quickly as you can – it will help determine whether you will flourish in that workplace or not. It will also ensure you climb the ladder of success with positive energy and influence all around you.

Time spent with a partner

This one is for keeps. Among those whom we spend our time with, the largest chunk goes to our partners, spouses and lovers. Time spent on our relationship with our partner tends to progress steadily till death, so it is of primary importance that we find somebody who is right after our heart.

There are many things people keep in mind when looking for their ideal partners – some want fame, some want riches, while others want honesty and integrity. Unfortunately, social media today has made sure everyone knows about the most private details of our lives, from our holidays to exotic locations to the parties we throw to surprise our partners. However, we seem to miss one big point in all this. Most of our life actually happens in the gaps between uploading social media posts.

It is when our partners and we run errands, do chores, make our children do their homework and take them to music and dance classes that life unfurls. A lot of time is spent in taking care of our daily duties. The glamorous bits that we put up on social media are hardly the tip of the iceberg that is our life.

So it is very important to have a life partner who you love and understand. Someone who has similar life goals and aspirations as yours. As you are going to spend the most interesting as well as the most humdrum parts of your life with this person, it has to be a human who makes you feel happy and content in being just who you are. Remember, it is best not to give in to pressure of any kind while searching for a life partner. The search might be a slow one, but we must ensure that the choice we eventually make is the right one.

Time spent with ourselves

‘As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler, solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness will be weakness,’ said the great American philosopher and poet Henry David Thoreau.

The study shows that humans increasingly spend time alone. From being surrounded by family and relatives when we were little children to enjoying our freedom as young adults, we traverse a journey which brings us to a place where we are surrounded by our responsibilities – having a good job, finding a partner, raising a family to taking care of our young and the elderly. Steadily, we find ourselves spending more and more time on our own. But alone does not mean lonely. Having time to ourselves can be just as productive and positive as that spent with people we love. In fact, being alone isn’t a marker of loneliness among the elderly, unless specifically proven or surveyed.

We may weigh being socially connected as a predictor of happiness or lack of loneliness, but it is definitely more complex than that. In any case, spending time with oneself should be a practice in self-care and love. Experts suggest we allow boredom to feature in our lives regularly. Not only is it healthy to clear up mind space every once in a while but enjoying one’s boredom helps in becoming assured and confident. It opens up the mind to new ideas and perspectives. And it also prepares us for the time that we may have to spend increasingly alone as we age.

Our time is precious. We must learn not to waste it on things and those who do not matter. Instead, we must learn to share our time wisely with each and everyone we hold dear.




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