So the other day, I was online on one of those social networking sites and my Mom posted up pictures of her visit to my cousin (around my age) who has this really nice home in some subdivision. So am I jealous? Do I feel bad? Not at all.
He sacrificed a LOT to get that house --working long hours most probably and having only weekends as a respite if any. His vacation is limited to the 3 weeks he gets annually and has to rush through places to get everything done. He has to go to the office come Monday without fail. That is his choice.
I chose a different path. One where I do earn less, but enjoy my life more. I get to knock off and go on 2 hour lunches if I want to... come in late or clock off early. These kinds of jobs pay less, but the freedom it affords those of us who have them is priceless.
When we consider geological time, everything we build on this earth is temporary.
I have another cousin who also had a grand home. But he died recently (age 45) due to cancer (may he rest in peace).
So what was all that effort all about, then?
If you knew you had cancer and had seven months, would you not regret spending all those hours in the office under stress when you can be enjoying your life, your spouse and your children more?
So what if little Johnny cannot have his own WII?
Suddenly, having that ipad isn't that important anymore, isn't it?
To top it all off, my poor cousin spent a huge chunk of his life in bitter acrimony with his sister and her husband. Only at the end did they reconcile --minutes before he expired.
And for what? Because he thinks his new brother in law is not as wealthy as he was and was undeserving of his sister? What a lot of good years wasted on hate and arguing... and what a senseless way to live one's life.
And it has been proven that cancer is affected by people's mood. Happier and more positive people heal their cancers faster --sometimes overnight while negative people usually heal slower or their cancer gets worse. You just have to ask yourself: "what if"?
The lesson I drew from all this is that everything on this realm is temporary.
Very, VERY temporary no matter what some might think or assume.
We all have an appointment with death. Whether we are given 7 months to live or 7 decades, why is it that we only change our priorities when we are at death's door?
So what do we want to get out of our 80 years of existence?
Do we really want to spend the majority of our lives (as Nigel Marsh puts it) doing things we don't want, to please people we don't like and to impress people we don't love?
My answer is I don't want to bother with accumulating all this extra "stuff". No matter what happens, you will always end up wanting more and you will lose it all in the end and all you got to show for it is a lavish funeral if you're that wealthy. (which does your dead body no good anyway since you're going to rot no matter what)
I want to get just enough. And "enough" can mean many things to different people.
My definition of "enough" is 3 decent meals a day plus snacks... adequate shelter, clothes and a purpose in life.
My purpose right now is to make educational stories and history books.
When we look at nature, birds spend less time building nests and more time enjoying each other. A lot of us do the exact reverse. We spend a lot of time accumulating things and less time enjoying our loved ones. And as many of us know, time is running away fast.
At the end of each our lives, we will ask ourselves if all of what we were doing was worth it.
I don't want to reach the end of my life to ask that question.
I will ask myself today.