I am spending the week skiing with my family, and while bruising myself and enjoying the ache that always accompanies skiing holidays, stopping to take a break helps me to take a step back and remember to be grateful for what I have.
In doing so I realised that it is the anniversary of the death of a friend, and as such I thought it an opportune time to revisit something I wrote 3 years ago. I hope that wherever you are, you remember to acknowledge the beautiful people that make your life special.
I Am Rich
J told me that Kate had cancer. J and Kate were best friends growing up. The kind of best friends who shared everything. Inseparable, trusting, honest…the best friends any person could ever hope to have.
I had been close friends with both J and Kate ever since I was in primary school and later dated J for a while. She was a great friend. Every single week for many years I would spend a lot of time with J and Kate. Parties, movies, walks, just hanging out. We even worked part time jobs at the same store on weekends.
I hadn’t spoken to either in at least 10 years. I had left the country, traveled around the world, lived in multiple countries, and never returned for anything more than weddings and the like. Both J and Kate had gotten married, and I’d largely moved on to a different life… a life apart.
Some people give up, they’re dead even when they’re still walking around. You wonder what keeps them going each day. Life seems such a drain. The sheer effort of existing appears to be exhausting. Not the good, sort of exhausting, mind you, the kind that you get from being “amorous” with your partner. But rather the debilitating, sapping, bleeding, excruciating exhaustion that comes from being pissed off, hopeless, and negative. This is cancer. A different kind.
Kate was never that person. Nowhere close. She was in fact the complete opposite in every way imaginable. If you had known her as I had, fortunate as I was, you would be a better person for it today. No question. She didn’t deserve to die. Very few people who do actually deserve to die, do. I know because I devour news like a glutton. I can think of dozens off the top of my head who deserve the Grim Reaper, but not Kate.
She was in her 30s with two young, beautiful daughters, a husband who loved her, extended family, and friends that loved her. None of that mattered. It never does. She died anyway.
People die all the time, and we’re all going to die, myself included. I tell my kids I’m immortal and while they know that’s not true, they’re still young enough to not really consider what that means.
Most of the time I never think about it. What’s the point?
I’m still young, death is a long way off. Until maybe it’s not. None of us expected Kate to die. She was young, fit, and beautiful. I, on the other hand, am only young and fit.
I read an article some time ago about a study done, the validity of which I’m not sure. The study tracked retiring males and found that the average length of years that they managed to stay alive after retiring was TWO!
How can someone who is clearly not at least half dead already go from being an active, productive member of society to a cold slab of meat in just 2 years?
Sometimes life is exhausting. I never feel exhausted when I’m inspired, when I have purpose. Is that why people die when they retire?
Getting up to play golf just doesn’t have enough purpose to it. Getting up to build a new mouse trap is fun and inspiring. Getting up to run an orphanage, teach a class at the local university, or whatever your chosen thing is. Purpose is everything if we’re to live while we’re alive. We may die of some horrible disease like cancer, but what is really tragic is to die inside before we’re dead.
When I was a kid I wanted to be rich. I was always the poorest kid at school. I wanted fast cars, I wanted to live in a mansion, and I wanted to have a swimming pool… definitely a swimming pool. I pictured myself flying around the world, sailing on super yachts.
I had, after all, watched TV. I wanted all of these things, but it’s funny I can’t remember visualizing a loving wife, happy kids, and waking up each day to create and build something I was excited about. I wanted “plastic rich”.
I have people I love dearly and care for, and they love and care for me.
My family are all healthy and happy.
I wake every morning with purpose, excited about my work and life. I have knowledge and skills that will allow me to produce even if everything was taken from me.
I exercise regularly and am genuinely happy.
I live in a stunning environment where I can walk on the beach every day, the air is clean and I have more than enough food, clothing and shelter.
I am RICH!
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” — Epictetus