“The graveyards are full of indispensable men”
– Charles De Gaulle
My latest, and most important, learning: I am not indispensable. Not to anyone or anything.
Does it sound harsh? Well, it is – but it’s the truth. It is both liberating and humbling.
My position at work? It can be done quite well by others if I weren’t there.
My blog? See above.
My marriage? If something happened to me, my husband would grieve for a time and then hopefully move on to find love again.
My daughter? This one is a little tougher but my daughter would be cared for by my husband if something happened. She would carry my loss with her but would most likely go on to lead a happy and productive life.
My family and friends? See above.
This doesn’t mean that I don’t bring meaning and worth into these aspects of my life; it just means that I probably shouldn’t take people, places, and things in my life for granted. I don’t get to have these opportunities in my life just because I’m super-awesome enough to sit there and do nothing; it’s because I’ve consciously invested parts of myself into these things. This is the humbling part.
What’s the liberating part? These people are choosing to spend their time/resources/energy with and on me. It is freely offered but shouldn’t be something that I expect, just because. It’s a gift to have these people in my life. They decided they want to spend their time with me – how cool is that?
I am not “owed “a job, I provide a certain value and my employer agrees to exchange money for my services. If I do not provide a quality service that the employer sees as meaningful, then I’m most likely going to lose my job.
I don’t “deserve” a certain quality of life because I’m pretty/smart/educated/whatever. I earn the quality of life that I have and I constantly assess where I’m at to ensure I’m on the right path. `
I am not “entitled” to handouts or freebies from other people. People may share their time, advice, resources with me and if they do, that is a gift and I should appreciate it as such.
So what needs to happen?
Financially and Professionally:
I need to continue learning and educating myself to remain a viable member of the work force. If I am relying on a union job for constant employment so I can stagnate and become a burden, I really need a wake-up call.
I want to invest in assets I need and not spend money on liabilities that will depreciate in value over time. Read new car, fancy clothes, electronics etc.
I want to diversify my income so I have multiple streams of income to that I can capitalize on. This is maybe the one place where multi-tasking has some real value.
I need to take responsibility for my own retirement and not rely on a government system that may or may not exist when I am old enough to retire.
If I dig myself into a hole, I need to dig myself out of it. There is no magical fairy that will rescue me. If my plan to pay off debt includes a rich relative dying and bequeathing me thousands of dollars, than I need to re-evaluate any prescription medications I happen to be on.
I need to take care of my medical health today so I don’t pay a price later in life for things that were easily preventable in the moment. This means I need to go to regular medical check-ups, dentist appointments, eye examinations and other health disciplines, as required.
I need to look after my physical health on a daily basis so I can enjoy a quality life for as long as possible. While I realize I can’t become immortal, I can stay active and eat healthy to increase my chances of living well. I need to work hard to stay within my healthy weight range and look after my body in any way I can. It’s going to be awkward, uncomfortable, and sometimes painful but these are important habits to develop.
Emotional & Spiritual Well Being:
I need to give my time and energy to the people in my life. Without these two things, my relationships will wither and die. My marriage is important to me; I need to make sure I create room for it regardless of what projects I have on the go. This goes the same way for my other family and friends.
I need to carve out space for hobbies that don’t revolve around making money. I like hiking and paddling, so making these things a priority in my life is a good commitment. I need to get over my idea that these things are “a waste of time” because they’re not profitable in the traditional sense. I like reading and writing and I have time for these things – I just want to expand my interests a bit to physical activities.
The important thing is to not take your life for granted. The riches and rewards you have are just as – if not more – important than the ones you plan for in the future. I know what I need to do now to appreciate what I have and grow what I want for the future.