I’ve been having an off week week over here lately… Every time I sit down to write about money, I keep thinking about my friend who’s currently in the hospital right now waiting on a heart transplant. At only 13.
We visited him last weekend, and still can’t get over the fact he was perfectly healthy just a matter of months before and now his life literally depends on someone else’s ending. It’s crazy. And here I am conjuring up a thousand and one ways to reach a million dollars as if it truly mattered in the end (it does matter, of course, but in times like this it feels like it doesn’t).
So every day this week I sit here starting at the computer screen and saying to myself “who cares.” This poor guy is struggling to stay alive, and I’m worrying about how much is in my IRA and how fast I can get to an early retirement. It makes me sick to think about, but of course we all have our own concerns. And no one wants others to suffer and stop living their lives just because theirs is currently in trouble. (I know I wouldn’t if, God forbid, I was in that hospital next. I’d want people to keep pushing forward and going after their dreams as fast as they can. I’d want them to appreciate life and find as much happiness as possible!)
Yet, here I am doing exactly that – wondering how I can sit here and offer up tips on “surviving” with what money we’ve got when others are in much dire straights. And not even just my friend either – everywhere you look there’s natural disasters going on all around the world right now. Tornadoes and hurricanes and typhoons, it’s a mess. And we all think about it for a few, and then move on with our daily lives again. Again, not that we should totally do something drastic and turn around our lives every time news like this hits (though it has prompted many to do so, which I HIGHLY admire), but they are constant reminders that life can change in a heart beat. And if we don’t stop to appreciate what we’ve got every now and then, it’s a damn shame.
Needless to say I’ve been going on many a walks this week processing everything and asking myself what the “purpose” of life is. Not to be all dramatic up in here (though it wouldn’t be the first ;)), but this stuff starts weighing on you after a while. You start asking yourself questions like, “Why do you work so hard?” and “Why aren’t you ever satisfied with $XXXXX in the bank?” and “What does all that even MATTER in the end? Are you going to take it with you? What TRULY makes you happy? Should you enjoy life more NOW in case something happens to you sooner than later? What are we supposed to be doing with our lives, anyways??” And so on and so forth.
I’m sure I’ll be back to my normal self by week’s end, but while I’m in this constant thought of life and purpose, I feel like I need to soak it in and really *pay attention* as none of us knows what’ll come next in our paths. I pray to God we all live long and plentiful lives, but we all know the odds are some of us will pass way too early than expected. I’ve lost 5 people since starting this blog almost 6 years ago, and those numbers will only be going up as time continues to pass.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that money shouldn’t be the only thing on our minds day in and day out, even though it certainly feels like it is (especially when your job revolves around it). We need money to bring us happiness over time, whether in the form of being able to work less and spend time with our loved ones, or buy that house to cover and protect our family, etc, but it shouldn’t stand in the way of us appreciating what life has to offer. We need to be doing more of that.
Not to make you even more depressed, but here’s an excellent example of someone trying to embrace life for as long as he has left to live it. Which unfortunately is not too much :(
Big thanks to my friend Nate St. Pierre who recently sent this to me and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. I’m afraid to Google and find out if he’s still living or not, but the point is that you just never know what’s waiting around the corner for you.
So be thankful friends! With whatever, and whomever, you’ve got. We’ll still bitch and moan about all the problems we have in life – that’s perfectly natural, and okay – but don’t forget about the biggest gift we all have no matter our stage right now: life itself. Nothing else compares to the significance of that, and it’s important we embrace it.
Photo cred: paalia