I am over in the States, visiting my 97 year old Grandfather. It’s hard to see this once, mountain of a man, an ex-soldier, who was full of life and love, be finally overcome by the frailty of his body. Staying with family allows you to see how others live. The pace with which they earn and create for the future, seeing their priorities and how they go about achieving them. Whilst watching tv yesterday, a news report came up about how in the U.S. 16% of people hated their jobs. The figure was 12% for the U.K.
This morning I got up and heard the shocking news that someone who was well respected in the field I worked in, passed away through cancer. He was young and liked by everyone who met him. These few days, seeing the frailty of the human body as we age, hearing that so many people hate their jobs, and knowing that life is not eternal, can focus the mind to question what really is important and who am I doing all this for?
We all know and have the intelligence to understand that we have a finite time on earth. Knowing this does not mean we should walk about smothered in morbid thoughts. But, if you were told, your time on this earth was to be shortened to a few years, would that change anything? In this current climate, many people have to work to survive and to ensure their families have shelter and food. Once we’ve achieved this, then what are we trying to achieve? To ensure the next generation are ‘set-up’? To have a bigger house? To maintain a lifestyle that we have created? To provide for our own future? Seeing my family here, I was in awe of the measured approach to life. There was no keeping up with the Jones’s, or a yearning for the latest gadgets. Their homes are full of joy and love. Families eating meals together, talking together and sharing together. This might sound like the ‘Waltons’, but when you see how life could be, no latest fashion or gadget would replace the joy I’ve seen amongst these families.
I will walk away from this visit, looking at my life through a new lens. I need to understand what am I doing in my life and to question, that if I was given the news that my time is now to be cut short, would I continue to do what I do, or would I change my life? We cannot and should not walk away from our responsibilities. That’s what being a responsible adult is all about. Within this, what would you change that would make you feel that when your time came, could you look back and smile, saying I had a great life…whilst doing everything I needed to do….?