In the interest of using the macro view of things to adjust the micro, here is a thought exercise for you:
Write your own obituary.
What would your tombstone read? As the old joke goes, no one’s tombstone would read “I wish I would have spent more time at work”. More than likely, in a deathbed review of your life, you would say things like: “I wish I would have spent more time with my family” Maybe before it is too late you should make some adjustments to your life. It’s a great big world out there, and the clock is ticking…Always wanted to travel? Get on it. Really wanted to build homes for people in need? Call Habitat for Humanity TODAY and get started.
Stop putting things off, the future is promised to no one.
Ask yourself this question:
If I died tomorrow, how many people would attend my funeral?
Personally I feel like this is a really good measure on the kind of life you are leading. Are you helping and influencing others? Will people miss you? Are you contributing to the greater good? If you ask yourself these questions and struggle to find an answer, time for some real introspection and pivot(s) in your life. Seriously, don’t wait until you are having the sad realization once you lose the ability to course correct and do things differently. You can only imagine what a horrible taste regret will leave in your mouth.
The problem with the way we in the U.S. view retirement is exactly what I wrote above; we wait until “someday” when we have unlimited time and (assumingly) the money to do as we wish. Many find themselves in failing health, in the situation of having a family member need to move in with them, or don’t have the money they expected. Now what? You’ve put off everything you’ve wanted to do for yourself and now you no longer have the means to execute those plans. We all live under the illusion that we have far more time than we think. Death comes for us all, but no where is it written that the grim reaper will wait until you are 90 to knock on your door.
I am not trying to be morbid in any way, I am trying to shake you out of your complacency and prompt some action. Whether for selfish reasons, or to impact the world, get off your ass and get started with whatever it is you know you should be doing. As is almost always the case, I am speaking from experience. And I am making this statement with something specific in mind….my car accident. You can read about it here, but suffice to say that I am not allowing this event to slip from the forefront of my mind. I WANT that life and death scenario to be omnipresent, as it keeps me focused on taking action and not letting things get put off til tomorrow.
Need a good exercise in this arena to really get started? Easy…write your own obituary. Find out just how much disconnect there is between what you WANT or THINK people to say about you in memorium, and what they would actually say. Don’t sugar coat it, and if you really want to get down and dirty, write your obituary and ask a few friends to do the same for you. THAT will give you a good look at how you are viewed versus how you view yourself and your place in the world. Maybe things are better than you realize, maybe they are not, Better to know now, right?
Tomorrow waits for no one, and the clock is ticking…get off your ass and do what you need to do. Otherwise, you are going to wake up soon and your chance to do these things will have passed you by. If you are lucky, SERIOUSLY lucky, you will be sitting around at an old folks home pissed off and bitter about the things you never did. This would be better than already being dead…but only a little.