It’s easy to get caught up in the “busy-ness” of life. We have the scramble of work, meetings, and activities. Sometimes it’s hard to slow down and enjoy the moment. However, what happens when you realize that you’re stressed out and your life is slipping away?
While you do need to make sure that you are earning enough money to provide for your family, and while there’s nothing wrong with making sure your kids have access to good enrichment activities, it is worth it to slow down on occasion and figure out whether or not you are investing in your life.
How to Invest in your life
You’ve probably heard some variation of the sentiment that most of us won’t find ourselves on our deathbeds wishing we’d worked more or spent more time in front of the TV. Many of us talk about having certain experiences “someday.” Unfortunately, for many of us “someday” continues to get pushed further away.
Rather than saying that you plan to do something when conditions seem ideal, it’s important to realize that conditions will never be perfect. Instead, you need to plan now to live the life you consider worthwhile.
First of all, the way you invest in your life is different from the way someone else might choose to do so. Your worthwhile life doesn’t have to look like someone else’s worthwhile life. For some people, it’s about traveling the world and seeing new things and meeting new people. Others want to stay at home, rooted in the community, working for positive changes in their immediate area. Still others believe that raising their children to be good members of society is the best work. And, of course, it’s possible to live a worthwhile life doing more than one thing — and doing these things in different seasons of life.
Take a few minutes to reflect on what you find worthwhile in living. Do you enjoy developing relationships with others? Do you want to be an activist for a cause you believe in? Do you want to be on the PTA and help your kids and other kids have access to a better school experience? Do you want to understand other cultures and points of view? The things that you find worthwhile are the things you should pursue if you want to invest in your life.
I believe in being active in my community, working for good. I also want to provide my son with a variety of enriching experiences and access to different cultural viewpoints. I like forging meaningful relationships with people I care about. Plus, I like to see new places and try new things. None of these desires are mutually exclusive. I can incorporate all of these parts of myself into a life that I think is worthwhile.
However, some of these items take a backseat to my work sometimes. There are times when I think that something just has to be done — and has to be done now. Even if that isn’t truly the case. One of the things I’ve been learning how to do is to step back and learn when to quit. While it’s nice to make a little more money, the truth is that, later in life, I’ll regret spending the extra two hours to make more money when I could have been playing a board game with my son or helping someone in need.
I’ve learned that the way I invest my time is more important than how much money I make. That time investment is the way you invest in your life for the long term. Once my basic needs are covered (and my future planned for), and once I have enough to enable me to do worthwhile things, there is no reason to add more money. After that, it’s just keeping score — and keeping me away from my idea of a worthwhile life.
What do you think? What is your idea of a worthwhile life? And do you really need more money to live that life?