Time: A worthy investment

An unexpected mathematical calculation resulted in a reflection about the number 2,080, which initiated a chain of contrasts and connections—an inquiry which caused an inner awakening, new realizations, and footprints into my future.

I’d been editing that night, wordsmithing, when a text arrived from a soon-to-be college graduate who was seeking meaningful work and connection, with very few prospects. We’d been conversing for months, as she sought her path, weighing geographical options and work opportunities. The outlook in her chosen field wasn’t promising, but she’d found an opportunity at a non-profit, and was weighing pros and cons, calculating living expenses. Her texted question to me: “How much would a job that pays USD $16 an hour amount to in a year?” I calculated it for her by creating a formula: $ hour x 8 hours = ? x 5 days = ? x 52 weeks = annual salary. Her response back was one word: “What?” Then her Dad sent a text message with a calculation that had the same end figure as mine, but in a way that made no sense to me. He’d multiplied 2,080 by the hourly rate. It took me 45 minutes to realize that 2,080 is the equivalent of hours worked in a year, at an eight-hour a day place of employment, five days a week, which is a somewhat stereotypical work commitment in North America.

I’d never heard the significance of the number 2,080, but it caught my attention, and shocked me. Suddenly this wasn’t a college graduate question, it was also for a woman who had lived decades, and was now wondering about her own 2,080 plus hours. I awoke the next morning ruminating about 2,080 hours of time.

I’d been at a crossroads for many months, already asking three questions, and exploring the inquiry with my spiritual guide. The questions:

  • What is the work I want to do?
  • Where do I want to live?
  • And, who do I want to do life with?

I began to write in my journal that morning, asking myself, How do I want to spend my 2,080 plus work hours each year? Then I paused: why did I query how I would spend time? What if I were to shift and instead reflect about how to invest my time?

How might I invest my time into relationships with the people I love, and my work life? And equally important, into service, health, play, advocacy, healing, and wholeness?

What would constitute my 2,080 plus, and how might I choose to show up in a way that amplifies time, in contrast to a spending or expenditure of minutes, hours, days, weeks, years?

I know that a spiritual director or guide can be an extremely valuable resource in an inquiry such as this, because when we get short-sighted, he or she will be alongside us, gently inviting questions, threading spirit into time and circumstance. We will be reminded that we are the beloved, deserve to be loved and be love for others. Participating in spiritual conversation can ensure the investment of ourselves into our one wild and unpredictable life is honest and valuable. Please join me in asking, and in reflecting with your spiritual director or guide, small group, with a trusted friend or partner, or in your own journal:

“What constitutes my 2,080 plus? Where will I choose to invest my time with the days I’m given to live?”

—Pegge Erkeneff
LISTEN, July 2016, Vol 10: Issue 3

Livi and Willow Pegge Erkeneff

Reprinted from Listen: A Seeker’s Resource for Spiritual Direction, July 2016, Vol. 10, Issue 3 (Spiritual Directors International © 2016). Reprinted with permission of Spiritual Directors International. To order copies or a free subscription of Listen, call 1-425-455-4506 or go to www.sdiworld.org

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