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For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been on a mission to reconnect with several best buddies from my college days. Living on different continents, it has been years since we last chatted and met in person, so the conversations naturally covered how we are doing regarding work and career.

I told them I’m semi-retired, running a small business, and occasionally taking on freelance writing projects.

They congratulated me:

“Nice! Your business must have really taken off!”
“Happy for you. You sold your business for millions?!”

I told them the truth. My company actually isn’t all that profitable. I consider it a nice side gig that’s not too time-consuming, but unfortunately, it also can’t pay all the bills. That’s why I have to freelance as well.

So what do I mean by “semi-retired?” Am I wealthy?

 

Time wealth

Running my own company and freelancing allowed me to reclaim my time. I’m no longer stuck in an office 9-to-5 (and honestly, it was more like 8-to-8 in Taiwan’s tech industry). I make my own schedule, determine the projects I deem worthy of my time, and choose when to execute these projects.

I don’t mind working hard. I just want to have more control over when, where, why, and how I work hard.

With the way-too-early passing of loved ones in recent years, I’ve realized that the most finite resource is time.

You could say I have developed a mild case of chronophobia, a healthy fear that I’m wasting time on meaningless work and inconsequential people when there are countless more worthy pursuits.

I’m not monetarily wealthy, but I’ve accumulated time wealth.

I still work daily, but I get to decide when to get started and when to call it a day. It’s liberating.

I need less

The phrase “enough is enough” is used when a person is no longer willing to tolerate something. It has a negative connotation and exudes a sense of frustration.

For me, I’ve redefined the idiom with two meanings that are more positive:

1. The first one is closer to the dictionary definition and reflects my new understanding of time wealth: knowing when to say “no.

Focus my energy, time, and resources on what’s meaningful and impactful. No need to please difficult people, don’t lose sleep over the uncontrollable, and definitely don’t over commit to energy-draining situations and social engagements.

2. The second one is a reminder that enough isn’t the same as excess. More money? More clothes? More drinking and partying? Bigger apartment? Another car? I’ve learned to recognize and appreciate having enough – materialistic enjoyment that I describe as comfortably adequate.

When you need less and have the time flexibility to focus on the right things, you naturally have more resources at your disposal.

Are you stuck all day indoors when your soul screams “GET OUTSIDE”?Do you have new year’s resolutions but can never find the time or resources to make them happen? We hope this piece will fire up the motivation buried deep down.