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More Important Than Money?
April 29, 2007
Welcome to the Hidden Wealth Keys Newsletter.
Have you ever been asked the question, "What would you do if you had only a short time to live?"
Usually the answer depends on the length of the time frame you're considering. If it's six months or a year, you'll most likely be tempted to include some travel or adventurous activities you've always wanted to do but never got around to. But as the time frame gets narrower, those external things tend to drop away and you're left with wanting to spend all your remaining time with the people you care about.
The interesting thing about life is that you really don't know how much time you actually have. So it's important to step back once in a while and take a look at your priorities. Are you neglecting the more personal areas of your life in your quest to make it financially?
The late singer/songwriter Harry Chapin wrote a wonderful song called "Cat's in the Cradle" that captures this syndrome perfectly. It's about a father who never has time for his young son, only to discover in his old age that his son has no time for him. If you haven't heard the song, it's worth tracking down a copy.
I've recently experienced a painful lesson on this subject. I'd always planned to do a family web site but kept putting it off while I built my web development business. Interviewing my father about his family's story promised to be a time consuming exercise, so I'd tell myself I'd do it next week or next month. Then he had a stroke.
There's nothing like an illness to bring about a shift in priorities. Although Dad's recovered quite well for a man of his age, he now needs far more attention than he did before, so I've stepped in as a part-time caregiver. For the first few months my business was put on the back burner as we did endless rounds of doctors, hospitals and pharmacies. Then life settled into a routine and I had time to take another look at my own projects, including the family web site idea. Sadly, I discovered that my chance of doing in-depth interviews with Dad was lost. His memory isn't as reliable as it once was, and he gets easily confused and tired if I ask him too many questions. Consequently, I've lost access to the history of his family.
On the plus side, I was forced to stop and consider my own mortality. I asked myself, what's really important to me? And what do I want to leave behind? I decided that I still wanted to create the family web site, based on my memories of stories my father and aunt had shared over the years. So I took time out and got it done. The rewards? Nothing monetary. Just e-mails from cousins and distant relatives I've never met who thanked me for recording our family's story. And I must admit, it's one of the most satisfying things I've ever done.
What are you putting off that may slip away from you? Is it a personal project? A relationship that needs attention? Your health or well being? Life can change in an instant and you can't turn back the clock. You can only make the best of what's in front of you right now.
I'm not saying you shouldn't continue pursuing your financial goals. Just make room for personal time as well. A balanced life includes both.
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As always, we welcome your feedback and suggestions. You can contact us through the form on our Contact Us page.
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