“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller.
We’re all going to die one day. All of us. I don’t mean to depress you, but rather, free you.
You’ve heard all the clichés:
- Tomorrow is never promised.
- Life is short.
- Cherish each day because it might be your last.
- Get busy livin or get busy dying.
I’m not gonna sit here and give you more little sayings to print out and thumbtack to your office corkboard. Rather, I’d like to share with you something that has recently been on my mind. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older (I’m 37. I know, I know, ‘older’ is a very relative term). Maybe because I have four kids. Life always moves fast, but damn if life hasn’t floored the gas pedal since those four have come along.
For whatever reason, I can’t seem to escape the thought that I’m not going to be around forever. God willing, I will be around for a long time, but that’s far from a guarantee. I’m not terminally ill or anything and although I could stand to lose a few pounds, I’m relatively healthy (to my knowledge). This is not news to anyone, but it’s really begun to dawn on me how real this is.
For the past few weeks, I keep hearing this voice saying something along the lines of “Dude, (meaning me) you don’t have an unlimited amount of time on this Earth. You better realize this” We all know this. No big secret there! However, this reality has begun to sink in. It’s been a deeply emotional, terrifying, and freeing thought all at the same time. Truly realizing that we are all speeding towards our own death with each passing day isn’t something we want to focus on. But, I believe, that to a certain extent, maybe it should be.
In relation to all this, I have a few thoughts that I want to share with you. I have no idea if any of you will relate. I also have no clue if anyone will even care to read this. You’re probably more used to me writing about Medicare, Social Security or the stock markets.
I’m a financial planner, so why am I writing stuff like this? First, because I’m a person, just like you. None of us will live forever! Second, maybe I’m being cavalier, but I hope my experiences might benefit someone out there. Also, for some reason, I’ve discovered in recent years that I really enjoy writing. It’s cathartic. I wish I discovered this long before I did. Lastly, this is my blog and I can write whatever I want! ?
What I’ve found to be most significant isn’t my realization of about my lifespan, but rather my reactions to it. It has revealed two things to me: (both of which have been somewhat surprising to me)
- I have some things that I want to accomplish. I better get working on them and stop wasting time.
- It’s time to enjoy the present, rather than worry about the future.
Look, at least for me, there’s a ton of stuff to unpack there. I’m not going to get into ALL of it.
As people, we’re unique in a lot of ways. However, in a lot of ways, we’re all very similar. Maslow was really onto something.
Everyone has things they want to accomplish. We all have people we love and enjoy spending time with. We all have things we worry about regarding the future. It’s only natural! Sometimes though, that worry can rob us of our rightful joy in the present. I know it has done that to me at times in the past.
What I’m trying to say is that we need to stop thinking about our lives as if we have an infinite amount of time left. The sobering truth is that we do not. You can let this depress you, or you use this reality to unleash yourself. Start working toward your dream(s). Start getting into better shape. Forgive the people who have hurt you. Slow down. Take a walk. Take in how truly magnificent nature can be. Stop hurrying your kids to bed just so you can go watch whatever show on Netflix. Our kids aren’t going to be small forever. Tell that guy or girl how you really feel about them. Learn something new. It’s both fun and challenging (I’m taking sign language classes right now for exactly these purposes). Help someone who is struggling. Take a chance on something! Sure, it may not work out exactly how you’d hoped, but I’d rather know I tried than live with regret.
Just live your life folks. We only get one shot. From here on out, let’s make it count.
At least that’s what I’m going to do. Finally.
Okay, that’s it. I’m done.
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