I was recently drawn to one particular blog for a couple of reasons. It was written by a fellow Dad (which I happen to be…us Dad’s have to support one another!). It was clear by the content of the posting that his priorities are similar to mine (placing his wife and children before anything else, including his work…which is a good thing). However, it took some traumatic events in his life to come to that conclusion.
This last observation really resonated with me because it made me wonder why so many people require a traumatic life event to realize what is important?
In this guy’s case, he was a lawyer working far too many hours and his body rejected the amount of work and stress he was placing on it. As a result, he needed to be hospitalized and required surgery.
How many times do you hear stories of men and women who have had heart attacks, were in a horrific traffic mishap, lost a loved one or some other tragic event; survived it and then came to the realization that the way they were living their lives and the priorities that they placed were on the wrong things?
They finally realize that things like work or amassing material possessions are not the keys to a life that is rewarding and joyous. They realize that relationships with friends and family and giving back to others are more essential to having an enriched and satisfying life.
So why did they abuse themselves, wait for a horrific event to occur and compromise personal relationships for so many years to finally figure out what is truly important?
“Oh, I almost dropped dead from too much work and abuse to my body. I have found a new appreciation for life and what is most important”. How many times have you heard stories about people who pushed themselves to the brink physically, only to be saved, just in the knick of time, from an untimely demise? How many people do you know who have gone through these kinds of experiences? Chances are, if you are reading this blog, that you are at a similar stage in your life and might have experienced something similar to this or are on the road to a possible life changing event.
Why do we let this happen?
We live in a consumer-based society…constantly bombarded by advertisements to buy the latest and greatest things. We are told and led to believe that if we own these things our lives will be easier and others will envy us because we have the newest gadget. We might go further into debt or make ourselves sick with working extra hard to have these things…but its ok because if we don’t get one, we aren’t keeping up with the Joneses.
Doesn’t this remind of you your youth when your friends encouraged you to have your first beer…or your first drag of a cigarette of first toke? Even though you knew in your heart that it was a bad idea, you still did it because otherwise you would be chastised by your friends. Complete nonsense.
I have learned to live with a lot less these days. I have learned through my own life experience that even though acquiring things might make me happy, that feeling of euphoria is fleeting. I have learned that relationships and performing acts of kindness towards others are what fuel me…they provide me with a level of satisfaction, pleasure and joy that no gadget, article of clothing or gizmo will ever offer. Best part, the feeling lasts a lot longer than any new piece of clothing I might buy or new electronic toy I pick up.
I don’t want to be one of those people who, while fortunate, say that they have a new lease on life and are going to change their priorities. Why wait for something horrible to happen.
I would like to suggest that those of you who are traveling a million miles a minute and potentially jeopardizing your own health and your relationships with those that are closest to you…STOP. Don’t wait for something horrible to happen.