A Lesson Learned

Friday 15 Apr 2005

Due to an unusually high number of tragedies involving family of co-workers this spring, I'm unusually receptive to ideas about enjoying life and the time we have. This kind of ties into one of my recent rants about finding something you have a passion for, and enjoying that thing to an extreme. I'll add on another story. My mother and her sisters grew up in a financially-tight household. They were comfortable, from what I've heard, but just barely so. Money was tight and spending had to be limited. Now, fast-forward to 20 years later when their mother died suddenly. After the funeral, their father gave them each a fairly large sum of money out of the retirement savings he'd built. Multiplied by three sisters, this came out to about $100,000. That's right: they'd led a spartan childhood because their parents were saving every penny, but there was a lot of money stashed away. My mother has mused, in recent years, that perhaps all that money would have been better used many years ago, when they were children and life was more fun and magical.

Now, I'm not saying that we should all spend everything and buy whatever we want. I'm just saying that money becomes less useful as you get older, and becomes completely useless after you die. I refuse to pinch pennies and have no fun during my young, strong years - this would lead to being rich, but too old and weak to enjoy being rich. Also, while I've focused on money as it applies to this, the basic idea transcends money: enjoy life and don't delay in doing the things that you enjoy doing or want to try.

There is a country/pop song out right now that touches on what I'm saying (though in less of a financial way) and you can see its lyrics here.