There’s no greater gift involving time than creating the kind of life that allows you not to predicate how you use your time on the impact of that use on your ability to make the money you require for living your life as you see fit. In short, the more time you can give yourself, the better you are going to feel. That is, as long as there are other people in your life important enough to you to give them some of your time as well. If you can give yourself more time than the amount you need to make a living in order to meet the cost of necessities, you are on the road to heaven on earth. The problem, of course, is how to “make” such time. (side thought: what do make time out of?)
Many pretend that philosophy is the solution, often the same people who really don’t need to worry about these things, because they have the money to do, more or less, as they please. More often than not the common wisdom is the only philosophy that works universally is “make your life simpler.” Dispense with possessions, except the precious few. Reduce your obligations, in number, if not in magnitude. Eat less. Drink less. Consume less electricity, water, natural gas. Eschew the use of vehicles that are fueled by carbon-based fluids, solids or gases.
This is obviously horse shit, except for the lives of those who have embraced a monastic life within the confines of their chosen religion, and they happen to have a vast garden of food they maintain year round in a temperate climate.
Outside of criminal behavior, there is no custom, there is no set of tasks, that, in the aggregate can be termed simple, however basic and uncomplicated any one of them may be in the particular. Those I know who espouse, if not embrace (a smaller number), the “simple” life in the sense I am attempting to define it, spend most of their time engaged in tasks in pursuit of such a regime. Aside from the observation that one should embrace his or her spouse once in awhile, especially if you actually mean it, I would say, there is no simplicity to their lives at all. Not from the outside. Rather, given the theme of this essay, the more important consideration is the extent to which they devote time to themselves in a way they see not only fit, but they experience as pleasurable also. The fairy tale they tell themselves, and the majority of their friends, about simplicity is not only besides the point, but harmless. It’s not worth the time – aside from observing it and commenting upon it in public – to consider its obvious and pertinent internal inconsistency. If it is not a fairy tale, but told, nevertheless, in hypocrisy or perversity, well, you have some interesting friends, and you should spend more time with them observing their behavior. Unless, as I say, it’s criminal, in which case, be prepared, in sticking around, to accept the consequences of association.