After a recent speaking gig this guy came up to me. I guess that he was 60+ and he seemed like a nice elderly gentleman.
He told me how much he had enjoyed my speech on working less and living more and wanted to share a story from his life. His story made the hairs on my arms stand up and they still do to this day whenever I tell his story to others.
I really want to share this story and perhaps help you see your own life in a different light.
So here goes…
His wife through many years had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and the doctors told them that she would have roughly a year to live.
Needless to say that this made them take a thorough look at their life. The man have had a successful business for many years, and since their kids left home they had been living just the two of them in a 3200 ft renovated farm house. Basically the home they had always lived in and expected to grow old in together.
However now they could see how his business and maintaining the house simply took all their time. And time was something that was suddenly of utmost important to the couple. They knew that they wanted to spend that time together and time spent on maintaining the large garden or running a business would be time away from each other.
So they made what someone not in their shoes might call a bold decision, but for them was the only valid thing to do….
He sold his business that he had spend a lifetime building and they sold their house that they had raised their kids.
They rented a small one-bedroom apartment and started traveling.
They saw all the places that they didn’t get to see while raising a family, while working and building a business. They traveled to the far east, saw most of Europe and visited long lost friends in North America. Sometimes with their kids and grandkids and sometimes just the two of them.
At this time in the story you could see the man’s eyes light up and his next words was pretty wasted on me as I could see them coming from a mile away.
“And Rasmus…. It has been the best time of our lives”
However the thing the man said next I didn’t quite expect:
“And you know what? It was seven years ago my wife was diagnosed with the terminal cancer and she’s still alive and we’re still traveling most of the year”.
It was clear to me that despite that his wife was still suffering from the cancer and still had a death sentence over her head, in front of me was standing one of the most happy individuals I’ve ever met.
Someone so full of joy, someone so fantastic at living in the present and getting the most from life.
Damn, the hairs on my arms stand even when I’m just writing this
So he thanked me again for my speech and my message about you should work less and live more, and at that point I was pretty speechless. I wanted to say “no thank you!” but the words just came out as mumble as he shook my hand and turned to leave.
Stories such as this one just make it all worth to me, and if I should leave you with just one more small thing then it would the #2 item on the Top Five Regrets Of The Dying:
“I wish I didn’t work so hard.”
How are you going to live your life? And do you need a wake up call like terminal cancer to live life to the fullest?
Have an awesome day!