I was reading Getting a Life that I had borrowed from the library. I was reading through the chapter at a pretty good clip and became fascinated by this question: How would you spend the next year if you knew it was the last year of your life? I think people in general, and myself included, often become engrossed in life and lose sight of what’s important. I’ve written a prior post about (here) how I need to constantly remind myself to enjoy life and not become so focused on my goals that I don’t enjoy myself.
So how would I spend the next year if I knew it was the last year of my life? My first reaction is that it’s a weird and creepy question to think about. The horrible part is that people my age are faced with this question on a daily basis.
1. I would quit my job.
2. I would make plans to visit friends I hadn’t seen in a long time, but only friends I had kept in touch with.
3. Hopefully it was in the year of the World Cup so I could attend. I’d like to attend with good friends of mine that also enjoy soccer.
4. I would religiously attend every UT Austin football game at home and away with my wife and friends.
5. I would spend as much time as I possibly could with my little brother (14 years younger than I).
6. I would volunteer my time to a big brother/big sister organization.
7. In college I was a social butterfly. I would gather people that I used to invite to La Feria on South Lamar in Austin for a margherita/quesadilla happy hour. They had $2.50 margheritas and FREE quesadillas.
8. I had the “hook up” back in college to go see the Austin City Limits television show. If it were indeed my last year, I would camp out in front of the television station to get FREE tickets to the show.
I put this list together pretty quickly. After thinking about for a few minutes, I think a few of these items in this list would also be included as items of interest in the “when I retire scenario”. How would you spend the next year of your life if you knew it was your last?
Basically, I need to find balance in my life. I was on the swing at the park swinging as high as I could without a care in the world. I didn’t want to come down from the swing. It was nice to remember my 8 year old self and how I didn’t have anything to worry about.
I’m a naturally serious, competitive person. It took my childhood for me to lighten up and not turn everything into a competition. As a child at a roller skating party, circa 1985, I would ensure that I not only won all of the contests during the rolling skating party, but that I went around the rink more times and faster than everyone else.
Fast forwarding to today, I keep a pretty full plate. I tend to get so wrapped up in various goals and achieving them as quickly as possible that I tend to forget I need to need to actually enjoy life… because you never know how long you have.
There are a few steps I am taking to ensure that I enjoy myself. I’ve begun running on a regular basis (yeah endorphins!). I’ve always run, biked and have been playing soccer since age 4. However, I haven’t played soccer in 2 years and I have not been very consistent with running or biking. Another step I’m taking to ensure I enjoy myself is that I’m making time to hang out with old friends and I’m trying to make new friends.
My wife and I have begun entering 5K races. There are a few reasons for us entering races, but mainly we want to be consistent in our running. Our biggest problem in life is that we are inconsistent and tend to not keep up with activities – leisure or otherwise. If we enter into races and pay the entry fees a month ahead of time, we feel we will be “forced” to follow through. It also encourages us to jog a few times a week so that we run each race in a respectable time. In between running I’ve been biking in order to give my joints a rest, but still get some exercise in. For my wife and I, running is a way for us to stay in shape as well as make time to take care of ourselves and realize we need to take time out for us.
I’ve also recently started playing soccer again. I’ve been kicking the soccer ball around the park lately and have realized how much I miss it. Being proactive, I joined a team and our first game was last night. In the past, I would have easily given my present performance on the field a big thumbs down, but I’m trying to be easier on myself and enjoy everything instead of taking myself so seriously that activities ceases to be fun. My team lost, but I was able to cut myself a break and concede that my performance was okay considering I haven’t played in two years. Oh, and did I mention I scored a goal?
Soccer is a great way for me to relieve stress, but I hope it leads to friendships. Slowly but surely I’m trying to make new friends. Over the past few years, I’ve had friends that I’ve had since childhood go their separate ways. I think it was more a matter of growing apart than anything else. Right now I look forward to meeting people with similar interests. I recently met a fellow throughLinkedin (a professional networking website). He is involved in an MLM company and he had contacted me to see if I was interested in joining his group. I spoke with him over the phone and eventually met him at Starbucks. While I did not join his organization, he earned my respect after my speaking with him. We both have a similar passion for bettering our situations and being financially free.
While these are all small strides I am taking, I think it’s important to acknowledge that I need balance on my life. I also would like to note that while financial goals and aspirations are important, if you don’t take of yourself they are all for not.