I have recently confessed to my girlfriend that I review my checking account multiple times per week…sometimes multiple times per day. My thoughts are always consumed by the next opportunity and how it will help me arrive at my next major goal. I swear it’s not an obsession, I am just incredibly focused when it comes to hitting goals that I have set for myself. For instance, I have recently challenged myself to spend zero dollars at the gas station this month. While this seemed like an impossible goal, I might actually be able to make it through this month without worrying about filling the gas tank.
Thankfully, my girlfriend is okay with my seemingly obsessive behavior, but this doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t take a step back once in a while and evaluate my goals and dreams. Are my aspirations really that important? Do my goals even matter when looking at the grand scheme of life? What truly is important? Certain life events have recently spurred some thoughts on these topics and I thought, “Who better to share my thoughts with than my loyal readers?”
Life and Death
Unfortunately, cancer has proven to be quite common in my family. My aunt has battled cancer for many years and my cousin has recently passed away from an 8 year battle with cancer. Since I did not have a close relationship with my cousin, I first suspected that it would not have that great of an impact on my overall life, but after the funeral procession I was noticeably angry. Mostly, I was angry with God for taking someone that was so young and had so much left to do on this earth. At the time of her passing she was only 38 years old and unwillingly left her loving husband and 3 beautiful daughters here on earth, not to mention her parents and siblings.
I have since developed more of a peaceful position on this loss, but I still do think about what is important in this life. If you know me at all, you understand that I am incredibly frugal. I have no consumer debts and I will soon have my mortgage paid off (hopefully before the end of 2014). Even with my mortgage expense, I can often live on less than $1,500 per month. But, with all this obsessive saving, some of my friends believe that I am not enjoying life as I should be. Many of them live from day to day and are “enjoying life” now. They have large houses, nice cars, a boat (all on credit of course), and many other items that I would never dream of buying, simply because of the immediate costs. But what if I died tomorrow? What is that I wish I would have done?
What If You Were to Die Tomorrow?
I’m sure you are familiar with the country song titled, “Live Like You Were Dying,” by Tim McGraw. Apparently, the man in the song acquired a fatal disease and knew that he only had a couple weeks left on this earth. So, he quickly decided that he’d better do all of the things he’d always wanted to: skydiving, rocky mountain climbing, bull riding, etc. This sounds great and all, but this song didn’t quite seem to cover everything that would make for a good life. No, I don’t mean that the song was missing water-skiing or bobsledding or any other event that would work its way into the song quite simply. I fully believe that there is something more fulfilling than material possessions or one-off experiences.
It’s Not All About Stuff You Know
Even though I am only 29 years old, I have already discovered that material possessions will not deliver happiness. The high of a new car will only last for a couple of weeks. A new house might only feel special for a month or two. But there is something that is much more long lasting and it is really quite simple: loving relationships and experiences. No matter how lofty your goals are or how important you think it is to achieve them, do not forget about those people close to you. Let them know how much you mean to them and be sure to open up your wallet once in a while to experience life and make memories.
Are you enjoying life along with fulfilling your goals?
AUTHOR Derek Sall
Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.