Being rich is having money, being wealthy is having time.

Above: Image by Gina Milicia

I’m now in my second week of stage 4 lockdown. This means that approximately 5 million fellow Melbournians and I will stay home for the next six weeks. Everything is closed except for essential services. We can only leave the house for an hour a day and must not travel more than 5km from home.

I’m not going to lie, this second lockdown has been tough. I think I spent most of the first-week comfort eating, day drinking and binge-watching One tree Hill ( my go-to in a crisis).

Then somewhere between season 5 and season 6 I started feeling a bit more positive and remembered something my mum always used to say when life got tough. It’s an old Sicilian proverb, handed down through the generations.

“From caca, good things grow.”

I have two choices here. I can be angry and complain about everything I’ve lost, or I can accept the things in life I can’t control and be grateful for what I have.

One of the gifts I’m most grateful for is time. I’m not rushing to meetings, shoots, planes, dinners, deadlines. I have time to listen to music, read books that have nothing to do with research, just for pure enjoyment.

Yesterday I spent the day looking at 1970’s travel photography, baked bread and had a three-hour phone catch up with a friend. I felt like I’d just been on an amazing holiday.

I miss my family, I miss my friends but I’m starting to appreciate this slower pace and the gift of time. The following is one of my favourite quotes about the gift of time.

“To our so-called modern way of thinking, time is money. As a result, we all have very little time. …It’s so expensive that no one can afford much of it. Yet isn’t it curious that the richer you are, the less time you can spare from tending your riches? What’s the catch? Catch-22? Not really, because these time-and-money rules apply only when you play that particular game. By switching to a new game, one which in this case involves vagabonding, time becomes the only possession and everyone is equally rich in it by biological inheritance. (Did you know you were born rich?) Money, of course, is still needed to survive, but time is what you need to live. So, save what little money you possess to meet basic survival requirements, but spend your time lavishly in order to create the life values that make the fire worth the candle.”

– Ed Buryn, Vagabonding in Europe and North Africa (1971)

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Gina Milicia is one of the most widely known and respected photographers in Australia. She is the master of capturing that ‘magical moment’... READ MORE

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