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“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick.” – Steve Jobs
I never truly understood the meaning of those words until now.
Recently, a friend who’d recently been tested for a serious genetic disorder noticed Wanderer has the same physical traits.
This genetic disorder weakens your heart and blood vessels, causing them to eventually rupture, it’s a life threatening disease with no cure. And the condition worsens as you age.
Left untreated, the average life expectancy is only 40.
And if this test comes back positive, there’s a 50% chance we will pass it on if we have kids.
I spent last night lying awake, staring at the ceiling.
A million excuses ran through my head. A million excuses to convince myself why he COULDN’T possibly have that horrible disease.
But when morning came, I came to the cold realization that I couldn’t pretend anymore. We had to get him checked out.
And so while we wait, in shitty suspense, I want to tell you this:
Don’t waste your life.
Your fancy car. Your expensive house. Your prestigious job.
None of that matters when you die.
The only thing that matters is…
Living a life with no regrets.
And the only way to do that is to live a life you CHOOSE, not someone else’s.
Because this is what I realized as I lay awake at night unable to sleep.
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Your deathbed is where you see how many of your dreams have gone unfilled. And realizing you haven’t honored even half of these dreams is the hardest of all. And that’s why Wanderer and I are grateful we realized all our dreams.
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
After leaving the rat race, we realized how much of our lives would’ve been thrown away had we continued running the rat wheel.
Now that there’s a very real chance that Wanderer could have a life-threatening disease, I’m SO glad we aren’t doing that anymore. I don’t miss a single second of work.
“I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings”
One of the best parts of becoming Financially Independent is the ability to be 100% authentic. We didn’t have to give in to banks and promote their shitty mutual funds to make money. We didn’t have to tone down our voice to appease advertisers. We could be our authentic selves and truly help people rather than keep our feelings bottled up.
I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
Back when we were running the rat race, when choosing between hanging out with friends or working, we chose working every single time. But now we choose friends instead.
I wish that I had let myself be happier.
I used to always tell myself “I’d be happy if…” and “if only I had..” all the time. But since we retired, those thoughts haven’t crossed my mind at all. We’re just happy all the time.
So even though, we could be getting bad news any day now, we know that we’ve lived this life to THE FULLEST with NO REGRETS.
So whatever the test results come out to be, we say, fuck ‘em. You’re not going to bring us down. Nothing can bring us down.
And that’s the most powerful thing about Financial Independence.
It frees you up to live a life with NO REGRETS.
And we aren’t the only ones who benefited from this.
One of my early retiree friends, Tom, recently had a scary health issue where he, no joke, went temporarily blind for a few days while on vacation in the Philippines.
When he came back, he understandably ran straight to his doctor, who promptly found a tumor in his brain that was cutting off his optic nerve.
We were all devastated, as you can imagine. But he just shrugged it off and said “Meh, if it’s my time to go, it’s okay. I’ve already travelled the world and done everything I’ve ever wanted to do. No regrets.”
Luckily, that tumor turned out to be benign.
A similar thing happened to our friend, Winnie, from gocurrycracker.com. Despite being perfectly healthy, abnormal tissue was found in her cervix, an indicator for cervical cancer. She’s my age.
As scary as that whole experience was, Winnie ended up getting the surgery to remove the abnormal cell growth, and is now completely cancer-free (for those gals who haven’t gotten a cervical exam recently, go get one now!).
He died of cancer at the ripe young age of only 58. But even then, when he got the diagnoses, he made quirky cards for friends that said,“Joe Dominguez has been given a clean bill of death. Please direct your attention to the living and to the things that need to be done.”
His story changed my life and is the main reason why I’m so fascinated with “Your Money or Your Life”. So you can see why I’m beyond honoured to meet his wife and co-author, Vicki Robin at this year’s Chautauqua Ecuador .
If you’ve lived such a kick-ass life that even cancer and death can’t scare you, you’re basically invincible.
But if you’re spending all your time working just to make money to pay for expensive houses and things you don’t need to impress people you don’t care about, how can you be living a life with no regrets?
You CAN’T take any of those things with you when you die.
But if you live a life with no regrets, here are the things you CAN take with you:
The knowledge that you’ve lived a life true to yourself, instead of one dictated by someone else.
The knowledge that you’ve accomplished your dreams.
The knowledge that you did something good in this world.
And the knowledge that you spent your one precious life with the people you love. People who love you for who you are, and not the fancy things you can buy them.
Now THAT is a life worth living
You only have one life to live, so live it with no regrets. Because you never know how much time you have left….
Update: The results from the first set of tests are back and they’re good! *Breathes sigh of relief*. Thank you all so much for your prayers and kind thoughts. You rock!
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