We have no control over when we come into the world and, in most cases, when we leave it. What we can control however, is what we do in between these times. Too often we are focused on what we think we should be doing, rather than what will truly make us happy. Of course doing whatever we want all the time is not always practical. There are certain things we need to do to survive – i.e. eat, and these cost money, so we must do some sort of work to get this money. And we do need to make sure we have plans in place so that we know we will be ok when we are no longer able to work.
What I am talking about is when we take these too far. People get caught up in things like building up an array of expensive toys and aiming to do fantastic things at retirement, but forget to stop and smell the roses along the way. We put off things like taking memorable holidays with our families and we don’t take risks that might otherwise make our lives better. We tend to think we have plenty of time to do these things later but time quickly runs out. The time you have with your children as they grow is precious and once it’s gone, it’s gone.
Assuming you do put off everything until the end of your working life, what happens if you find you are not fit or healthy enough to do what you planned, or if you don’t get to live that long? When it comes to the accumulation of material things, what if you became sick or incapacitated and unable to sustain the income required to keep your empire of things going? When you can’t afford to maintain them, those toys can soon disappear. What are you left with then? Probably a lot of regret. Sure nice things are really great and I am guilty of more than one extravagant handbag purchase just because I liked them. It is very easy to get caught up in the always trying to have bigger and better trap, I know I have been guilty of this at times.
It’s a similar thing when people say I wish I could do this or I wish I didn’t have to do that, but then don’t do anything about it. The thing is, especially for those of us living in a country like Australia, there really isn’t much we couldn’t change if we really wanted to. It might mean sacrificing other things but except for the ones really outside of your control, you don’t have to stay in a situation you are not happy in. Imagine what someone paralysed from the neck down would say to you if you stood in front of them with your perfectly able body and say gee I wish I could learn to sail but I am far too busy making money to pay for my luxury car. Looking at it from this perspective the expensive car seems somewhat worthless.
So how do you want your life to look between the time you come into the world and the time you leave? Do you want to have a great empire full of stuff or do you want to have great memories full of awesome things you did with those you love? These people you love, by the way, should include yourself! The goal should be to aim for a balance between having enough materially and spiritually. It is a bit unrealistic to aim for the perfect balance all of the time. I guess it is much like the work life balance, sometimes you tip too much one way but as long as you find your way back to the other side regularly, that is a pretty good combination.
Here’s to a life of awesome memories and experiences!
Til next time…