About three weeks ago, I was visiting with an elderly woman from our church. She died five days later.
Last night, I sat down with a man who is in hospice care.
I asked both of these elderly Christians a similar question. To the one, I asked: what would you tell a young person today about life that you wish you’d known? To the other, I asked: if you could go back and tell yourself something when you were 20 or 25, what would you tell yourself?
There was a similar theme in their answers, and I hope you’ll be encouraged by what they had to say.
She said, “I wish we’d spent today what we made tomorrow.”
I bet your first reaction is, “Hey, that’s not the type of advice I’d expect to hear a financial blogger write about. Isn’t that the very mindset that so many people have today that’s getting them into trouble? In fact, isn’t the worst thing a person could do is to spend tomorrow’s dollars today?”
Fortunately, the woman went on to clarify her statement.
She grew up in a very frugal home and that sense of frugality stuck with her in her own home. She and her husband worried about money. They were never quite sure if there was going to be enough money for the things they felt like (at the time) were important. As a result, they always said that tomorrow they’d do that special event when they had enough money.
Tomorrow they’d go on a family trip. Tomorrow they’d do an anniversary vacation. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.
At 85 and in poor health, she realized that tomorrow never came.
It was worry that restricted them. If she could go back, she would have used her money for those experiences and figured out a way to pay for the responsibilities of life.
It made me wonder what events I’ve been planning to do tomorrow. It made me wonder if I ought to be getting my own bucket list and setting some dates. How many things am I putting off until tomorrow?
He said, “I wish I’d learned to be content.”
As a financial blogger, I sure was happy to hear him talk about contentment. :)
He went on to explain that during his prime working years, it seemed like there was always another dollar to earn and another business venture to pursue.
Now, in hospice, he sees the futility of those efforts.
The work and effort came from a place of worry and concern, but God faithfully provided over his lifetime. Looking back, all the doubt and worry seems silly.
Now, he’s embracing the things of true value – faith and family. Those are the things that are precious and meaningful to him. The finances that once seemed to play such a major role in so many decisions are now miles away from the important things of life.
What would you tell yourself to do differently if you could visit your 25 year old self? Are you doing anything about it?
We’ll probably all die with some regrets, but I pray that we all live life to the fullest. What should you risk today?