I read a lot of books in my spare time. Although most of my readings are on personal finances and investing topics, occasionally I read novels and other non-fictional books. I recently read a booked called "Dying To Be Me" by Anita Moorjani based on Mrs. T's recommendation (she also reads a lot too!). The book is about Anita’s battle with cancer for years, her near death experience, and how her body completely healed itself after a near death experience. The book was fascinating to read and Anita gave a lot of insights in the book. One of the insights that Anita mentioned was how hard it was for her to integrate back into life after her near death experience. Her experience in the other realm meant that this physical world that she used to know, didn't seem real to her anymore. She wrote this in her book:
“...I was no longer afraid of anything. I didn't fear illness, aging, death, loss of money, or anything. When death holds no horror, there isn't much else left to be afraid of because it’s always considered the worst-case scenario. ... I found myself grappling with how seriously everyone was taking everything - for example, how stressed out everyone was about money and finances, even though they had a lot of other beautiful things to enjoy and be thankful for. I also couldn’t understand how much people neglected everything else - including love, relationships, talent, creativity, individuality, and so on - for the sake of money.”
This quote totally resonated with me. Many of us are guilty of being too serious and worrying about the small details from time to time; we fail to see the big pictures, like the beautiful things in our lives. Money and finances are important parts of our lives but they shouldn't govern how we live our lives and how we treat others around us. We need to be more appreciative of our close relationships and what we can do to help out in our communities.
Although I aim for early retirement and financially independence, when I look deeper, what I am really trying to achieve is to be financially free so I can help others. This is the exact reason why successful and financially free people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet founded "The Giving Pledge" campaign. One of my biggest dreams is to be able to write a one million dollar cheque to a charity of my choice one day, most likely the BC Children's Hospital. Having went through some medical scares the first few weeks of my son's life, I felt really fortunate to have access to such helpful services so close to home.
To achieve this ultimate dream, I understand that I need to enjoy the journey along the way. I need to enjoy the finer things in my life, like love, relationships, talent, creativity and individuality. I cannot focus on only finances & money and completely ignore Mrs. T, Baby T, and the rest of my family and friends. My life will only suffer as a consequence. I have come to the realization that my life is great and beautiful and I wouldn't treat it for anyone else's life. If I cannot achieve this big dream, I need to accept the fact and understand that I've already helped out others along the way by making monthly donations to charities and volunteering in the community.
If you haven’t read Anita's book yet, I’d highly recommend you reading it. It’s not related to personal finances or investing at all but it will widen your perspective on what we call life.
For now, I'll leave you with one of my favourite songs - What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong.