A friend rethinks things

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herofan

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I’m sure everyone has heard the saying that goes something like, Nobody ever said on their deathbed, “Gee, I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”

I won’t go into great detail about the accident, but I have a friend in his 50s who had a work-related accident that may cause him to never walk again. He is blue-collar, self-employed with a side job or two. He’s one of those “on the go” types who usually works 6 days a week from daylight until past dark. Like many these days, all the work isn’t because he’s struggling to put food on the table and clothes on his back, but it’s for the extras in life that most all of us like.

The thing is, the accident has given him a lot of thinking time on his hands and he has re-evaluated his life. He told me that if the Lord ever let him walk again and get back to some kind of normalcy, he was going to make some changes in his life. For one, he was going to stop working like there was no tomorrow; his shop door was going to close every day at 4:00 or 5:00 instead of 9:00 or 10:00, he was going to give up his side jobs, and he was going to spend more time with his wife, grandchildren, and maybe help his son-in-law in a more casual manner. He said he has spent his life so far running around with his tongue out like a panting dog reaching for the dollar and thinking that down time was wasted time. He said he didn’t care if he had to sell all his “extras.” He said that somehow his current situation has made all that stuff and his previous lifestyle seem unimportant.

It’s sad that when some people have a major event like this in their life, it helps them realize that they need to stop and smell the roses. Then again, some people might evaluate their lives at a time like this and discover it’s all good even if they are "on the go" all the time. Who knows.
 

mwj

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It is sad that it takes a life changing event to make us step back and look at our life.
 

True Grit Farms

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What I've always gone by, is you have to work hard to play hard. I quit running the buck 17 years ago, my daughter didn't recognize me at her 3rd birthday party. I thought I was really something flying in to surprise her and all she did was cry when I tried to hold her. Screw that, you only have one life to live and putting money in front of your family is bs.
I wish your friend well.
 

Bigfoot

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I consider work my hobby, and enjoy being busy. I bet if you'd asked your friend his hobby a month ago, he would have said something similar. The difference being "time on his hands".

I was almost killed in '06. No earthly reason for me to be here (shy of a miracle). I had similar thoughts, and devoted more time to my children. I did real good for a while, but I have found myself reverting back to my old ways.
 

WORANCH

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Heart attack 2 years ago did it for me . Life is to short make the best of it .
 

greybeard

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All the above. Gave up my last outside job in '08 at age 58.

I don't regret it, but worked harder and longer here at home than I did on a job. Had 4x bypass in 2015..slowed down quite a bit after that and actually slow down enough to 'smell the roses' every once in a while.

When I read things like this, I always think of my twin. He just HAD to keep working, keep that check coming in even tho he was already full vested in his retirement and SS eligible, & even tho for the last year and 1/2 he said he hated the job. Finally retired last July..we buried him Monday before Thanksgiving.
Was not how I had always envisioned he & I and our families would spend the last years of our lives...without him.
 
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herofan

herofan

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Bigfoot":1ncn85uf said:
I consider work my hobby, and enjoy being busy. I bet if you'd asked your friend his hobby a month ago, he would have said something similar. The difference being "time on his hands".

I was almost killed in '06. No earthly reason for me to be here (shy of a miracle). I had similar thoughts, and devoted more time to my children. I did real good for a while, but I have found myself reverting back to my old ways.

I honestly don’t think he would have said work was his hobby; I think he just got addicted to being busy to the point that it became normal.
It seems like that’s how most people live these days, so it seems normal. Now that he has time on his hands and can barely do anything, he just wonders what it was all for.
 
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herofan

herofan

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I was at gas station the othe day and the pumps would not accept cards; it was cash only. There was a man walking across the parking lot on his phone telling someone how he was in a big hurry, he didn’t have any cash on him, and pumps were cash only today.

I don’t know why that triggered something in me, but I thought how some people live their entire livesvthat way. That might be me on occasion, but it’s some people every day. They’re always in a hurry jumping from one activity to the next. I don’t know how people live like that.
 

boondocks

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True Grit Farms":7w2p9s49 said:
What I've always gone by, is you have to work hard to play hard. I quit running the buck 17 years ago, my daughter didn't recognize me at her 3rd birthday party. I thought I was really something flying in to surprise her and all she did was cry when I tried to hold her. Screw that, you only have one life to live and putting money in front of your family is bs.
I wish your friend well.

Must've stung, TG. Glad you got a wake-up call early. Bet you don't regret it and neither does she.
 

True Grit Farms

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greybeard":1qkuxvna said:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUwjNBjqR-c

Dang you Greybeard that song makes me cry every time I hear it. It makes me proud and sad at the same time. I'm trying to get my oldest to come up and go turkey hunting, haven't seen him since before Christmas. He came up deer hunting once last season, and slept in two mornings. I always told him I was going to retire at 40, but didn't make it, nows he's telling me he's planning on retiring at 40, I sure hope he makes it.
 

dieselbeef

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sadly when my wife passed I did that as well...me and my boy..we try to do more together but even just keepin up at times is hard..but we do it together much as we can...for 11..hes a great kid overall




 
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herofan

herofan

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I was talking about this subject with a co-worker, and he made a simple but profound statement. He spoke of retiring at age 56 and slowing down. He said, "I don't want to be the guy when they eulogize me all they can come up with, including my family, is "he sure was a hard worker".
 

Farm Fence Solutions

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I have a good friend that beat aplastic anemia as a 20 something in 1978. He made a promise to God while laying in that hospital bed, that if he’d get him out of that jam, he’d only work as much as he absolutely had to, and he’d spend the rest of his time hunting, trapping, or fishing. I had lunch with him today, and mentioned the pond he’s been going to dig for us....for three years.....and he reminded me that it’s almost turkey season and the mushrooms will be up before you know it. The man has his priorities in order, and has kept his promise to God.
 

backhoeboogie

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While I agree with the perspective, I don't agree with these people who put in a 40 hour week, buy ski rigs or bass boats and play all weekend, then have their hand out wanting help.

I wanted more. I worked for it. Now I have to support three families and I am an old man. It seems to me that someone else needs to get off their duff and get to work if they are not making ends meet. If they can't pay the rent, they need to find a place they can afford etc.
 
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herofan

herofan

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backhoeboogie":ed1abjlz said:
While I agree with the perspective, I don't agree with these people who put in a 40 hour week, buy ski rigs or bass boats and play all weekend, then have their hand out wanting help.

I wanted more. I worked for it. Now I have to support three families and I am an old man. It seems to me that someone else needs to get off their duff and get to work if they are not making ends meet. If they can't pay the rent, they need to find a place they can afford etc.

I agree with this 100 percent. I think people need to pay their own way. What I see, however, is people who could live a comfortable life on a 40 hour week, but they would rather beat their brains out reaching for every dollar possible, or whatever the reason is. I think some people are just addicted to being busy while life passes them by.
 

skyhightree1

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had some heart issues in 2010 and thought about my life as well and made some life and work changes... However, We are lucky those of us that did make those changes because todays economy some folks have to work hard no matter what to stay afloat and keep off the gov't's dime and that option is not readily available to everyone.
 
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herofan

herofan

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skyhightree1":3ogkiyuj said:
had some heart issues in 2010 and thought about my life as well and made some life and work changes... However, We are lucky those of us that did make those changes because todays economy some folks have to work hard no matter what to stay afloat and keep off the gov't's dime and that option is not readily available to everyone.

That’s true. This is just a subject that fascinates me. I think where our hearts are is often how we identify ourselves. I truly enjoy spending time with my kids and just enjoying the simple things in life, so I probably identify myself as a father and friend more than anything else. I like the simple things in life with family, and a life of hustle and bustle does not appeal to me whatsoever.

I will admit that I have a difficult time understanding how a person could want to work all the time in one capacity or another when they really didn’t have to. I do not understand workaholics. A consistent striving for success and more, more, more would be totally exhausting to me mentally more than physically, but I guess people do what they love and what fulfills them and gives them purpose. My family is my love, so it makes sense that some people identify themselves this way too.

Many have careers/jobs they devote themselves to. This is their #1 goal, sacrificing years of their lives studying / preparing and bringing so much to countless others. They identify themselves more so in this way over any family member or backyard barbecue... and thank God for many of these brilliant minds who have contributed to our world. When my friend had his accident, he had to have major surgery. I was in awe of the surgeon, so thankful for the advances in medicine and people like him. I thought of what demands there must be on those in his field. I have so much respect there/ admiration. I’m sure he didn’t get to where he is by going home every day at 3:00 and sleeping in on weekends, but I’m not him.

We should all reach for what we are passionate about. For some, it's "life changing" important work for the betterment of all like surgeons, and I think some are just addicted to being busy. Something just tells them that a life of being on the go all the time is normal. For others like me, we just enjoy family and movies on a Friday night with friends. While we take our careers seriously, we also identify with making a living and could never view a job being better than smelling the roses here and there. So it makes sense we might find ourselves identifying more so by our relationships and taking life in the slower lane. Then, when something comes along like what happened to my friend, it makes me even more secure in the path I have chosen.
 
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herofan

herofan

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I had a chance to visit with my friend yesterday. It’s been a while since the accident, and he has gotten a grip on things and seems to be doing well now. We are close and can talk about anything, so I asked him to explain his change of attitude in work since his accident. He told me before that there would be some changes if he could get back on his feet and have some kind of normalcy mainly in spending more time with his family and not working all the time. I told him that I realize he could have looked back and thought his life was just fine the way it was and was anxious to get back to living just like he was. I asked if he could explain and what made him make the decision to change.

He said it might be difficult to put it all in words, but he had had a lot of time to think since he’s not been busy. He said it might sound crazy, but he felt like he had actually gotten to know his wife, kids, and grandkids better since the accident. He said there have been times when something would come up about them and he would have to say, “oh, I didn’t know that.” Then he wondered how he could have been so busy that he didn’t notice certain things about his own family.

He said before that if he came in a few hours earlier than usual and just sat around the house, he actually felt guilty that he was just wasting time. He said it’s like his brain was revved up, but his body was in neutral, so that felt weird. The only way he knew to solve that was get back to work, and he said that’s how everybody else seemed to be living. He said now that he looked back, he didn’t know why the heck he felt guilty. He said that those thoughts seemed crazy now. It wasn’t like he or anyone in his family was doing without anything or that someone else’s check was having to keep him up. He said now that he’s forced to just sit around, he doesn’t feel guilty because he realizes it’s out of his control, and he wonders why he felt like every waking moment had to be filled with work before.

He said he and his wife took a vacation from time to time, but looking back, even that was a big job. He said in order to feel like they were enjoying themselves, they had to go on a big trip that took effort, and they usually came back worn out. Before, it's like everything had to be a busy task in order to feel like it was worthwhile. Now, he says he finds that sitting on the back porch at night with a small fire and chatting with his friends and family is wonderful. He wonders why he didn’t recognize that before.
 

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