As I was recording some expenses in my checking program, it occurred to me that a quick measure of the quality of a life is how many checkbook entries are classified as gifts, contributions, entertainment, leisure or personal care.
There will come a day when each of us will reach the end of life. That may come suddenly for some with a traffic accident or heart attack. For most of us, it will come calmly, in a bed, somewhere. We will have some time to reflect on our lives.
I doubt that we will count the number of days we stayed at work late, or how often we cleaned our house. We certainly will not lie there joyously reflecting on our superior credit rating. We probably won’t even care what our bank balance is at the moment.
Most of the things we chase in life will be mostly meaningless in the days or hours that precede our death. We know that even now. You know it. I know it. Yet we struggle on chasing those less meaningful things.
What will we think about in those hours when we are too tired to stand up one more time? I think, we will recall our friendships, our lovers, our families. We will relive our vacations and the moments that we stopped to watch the sunset. What we will mourn is that we didn’t spend more time with friends, more time watching sunsets and more time being good to ourselves and others.
Isn’t that why so many people give away money and possessions nearing the end of life? It’s their last chance to make someone else happy.
I once knew a man who was dying. His wife had made his favorite dinner: spaghetti. He had little appetite yet he devoured a huge plate of spaghetti. I remember thinking. This may be the last time he eats his favorite meal. It was.
For each of us, our day is coming.
Less than helpful advice
Then do something now that you will wish you had done. Repeat as necessary.