This question hit me out of nowhere and aided me in choosing the direction of my life and what mattered to me. I really sat down and thought about this question and the answer revolved around experiences rather than monetary gain or acquisition of possessions. The things we’d miss the most on our deathbed will probably be an experience or a person, most likely both. We as humans crave social connection and tight bonds that transcend lifetimes. Chasing something like money and material possessions is not bad or evil or immoral; however, it is not going to bring happiness, nor will it come to mind on our deathbeds. It will more likely be the people that surround us, the experiences we’ve never forgotten, the people who remained in our lives for the long haul, the friends that became family and the family that always had our backs through thick and thin.
Again, not everyone is sentimental, but you get the point.
If I had to answer the question myself, I would miss being out in nature, going hiking, playing basketball, combat training, being on the beach, going to comedy shows, looking at the stars on a summer night, helping people live the lives they want to live, watching people turn their lives around for the better, seeing people attain what they want the most and achieving the happiness they’ve craved for a long time, spending time with the people that matter, and a list of other things.
As you can see, nothing on that list involved money and the acquisition of possessions as those things don’t matter to me. Now, I’ll put driving on the open road and being free would be one thing because it involves a physical possession but that revolves more around the mobility factor of a car rather than the car itself. But you get the point. The things I’ll miss the most are the experiences that bring me joy and allow me to be free to do as I please in this life.
It took me twenty-six years to finally figure that out.
We all know intellectually that money and material possessions don’t matter but we continue to chase it in hopes it brings us happiness. We know family, friends, and experiences matter the most, but we abandon it and even sacrifice it in some misguided attempt to make our lives better. We all wish we would have grown up in a nuclear family with loving parents, stable grandparents and supportive friends that actually give a damn about us but, instead of trying to change things for the better, we let the negativity of our lives consume us and continue the spiral into misery and poverty.
The thing about riches and poverty is their association with monetary gain doesn’t reflect the realty. Money is one aspect of rich and poor as the two can relate to health, family, friends, wisdom, understanding, and knowledge, social connections, etc. It is not all about money and it’s time we rid ourselves of this false narrative designed to disenfranchise and separate us as a people.
Life is meant to be experienced, lived, and enjoyed. It is not meant to be spent chasing and trying to hit metrics that don’t matter. If power, respect, money, and acquisition matter, great! Go for it! If being extraordinary matters to you, great! Go for it! All I’m saying is think about the things you’d miss the most on your deathbed and spend your life enjoying those things as much as you can.
Hope this helps,