I’ve always followed the same mantra - work hard, hustle, grind.
Society places praise on such things.
But what if society is wrong?
I know far too many people who live the non-stop life and many, if not most, are unhappy.
Many of you know how I worked almost 8 years without taking a single day off because of this mentality . . . because I felt that I had to succeed, and because in reality, I was STUCK IN MY BUSINESS instead of working ON MY BUSINESS. I felt trapped. This led to massive burnout and I came very close to quitting and shutting everything down. (BTW - I’ll certainly talk more about working on a business at another time)
That was 6+ years ago.
Looking back, I’m reminded of the following from the incredible Hamilton.
Why do you write like you’re running out of time?
Write day and night like you’re running out of time?
Ev’ry day you fight, like you’re running out of time
Well, the reality is, we are all running out of time.
Yesterday that reality came a little too close for comfort for me.
Not the way I wanted to spend my Saturday . . .
After spending an amazing day with my girls, out of the blue one of my eyes went blurry. I could still make things out, but barely. Then I got a little nauseous and dizzy with a very minor headache. The blur lasted a little less than 10 minutes, but after that, my eyes just felt funny. I can’t really describe in words what everything looked like, but it didn’t feel right.
A few months back I had the blurry thing, but without the other stuff, and of course, went to visit Dr. Google. I learned that the sudden eye blur thing could be a sign of a stroke, but I believed it needed to come along with other symptoms. Fast forward to yesterday, I had some of those symptoms.
Julie was in California and I was home alone with the girls.
Knowing it wouldn’t be wise to drive, I called 911 and a full squad of firemen and paramedics came to visit.
They cleared me, but my very high blood pressure of 160/100 and other symptoms had them concerned, so they stayed to make sure it went down, and before leaving, strongly recommended I go to the hospital if after a little bit things didn’t get better. They really wanted to take me, but without Julie around, I worried about the girls, and passed the initial neurological tests, so I decided to play it by ear. Our friend had come over to help out and I was going to rest while she watched the girls.
As I sat there trying to relax, things didn’t improve and I knew I needed to go in.
She drove me and dropped me at the door of the ER and I spent the next 4+ hours getting tested.
They checked my blood, my heart, my eyes, and did a CT with contrast of my head and neck to check my brain and blood vessels. Everything came back clear and they released me. They suspected some kind of migraine, and cleared me of all the really scary stuff.
BUT that was seriously rude awakening!
I’m 43 and I know I’m not a kid anymore. I take care of myself.
I eat well - seriously cutting back on sugars, eating lots of fruits and vegetables. We’ve cut down on meat, and work hard to avoid the tempting desserts and snacks I used to be addicted to. We’ve replaced iced teas, sodas and juices with water in the last decade, and rarely, if ever will I drink alcohol.
I move daily and if not for some nagging injuries, try to get in intensive workouts 5 days a week.
And despite all that, I’m still 43.
Sitting alone in my hospital bed, all I could think about was my girls, Julie, and the rest of my family . . . and what what happen if things went wrong.
On show 313 of the BiggerPockets Podcast, we interviewed Jesse Itzler and what most struck me was our conversation about how short and precious life really is.
Your life can end tomorrow!
What really matters?
Is it all the hustle and grind? Is it all the material stuff? Is it impressing other people?
I’ll argue that all of that stuff is bullshit.
All that really matters is our families, our health, and our happiness.
It is my mission to continue to better all of these until my time comes - hopefully when I’m much older, but I won’t allow myself to let the other nonsense get in the way of that mission.
I hope to share that journey with you all via this blog, and perhaps through other forms like video or a podcast.
What I ask, no beg of you is this —
Make sure you’re doing everything you can to live your best life. Do what you need to do to find your happiness. Do what you need to do to take care of your health. Be there for your families.
Stop making excuses and focus on those things as your priority because in an instant it can all be over.