What you can learn from life when you face death


It’s a grim outlook but everyone must die. Maybe not today, however, it’s one of the few certain things in life.

I was at my late uncles funeral when I made a decision to change my path in life. My uncle was a police officer in his younger years, so I used to enjoy hearing the stories about it. My uncle was tough and he loved an argument with anyone who would bite. So, although he did not always say it nice he would say it straight. Everyone knew where they stood, which is one of his qualities I appreciated the most.

One of my uncle’s more obvious qualities was his ability to save a dollar. To say he was frugal would be an understatement. Our family still often jokes about the time we went out to a Christmas in July dinner. The restaurant served up fruit mince pies with coffee and no one was eating them. 30 minutes later we arrived back home with a few of our relatives, when my uncle reached into the pockets of his old dirty parker and pulled out crumbled fruit mince pies.

We need to go back to eight months before my uncle’s funeral, so you can understand why his end made me stop and think. I remember he had booked a holiday with his wife aboard the luxurious Indian Pacific train, which travels from the east coast to the west coast of Australia. I remember my mum’s response when he told us; “Well it’s about bloody time. What are you going to do with your money otherwise? You can’t take it with you.” It was a big deal for us to see him spend this kind of money but that wasn’t quite as big as the shock I would get next.

I have to admit… I don’t know if this was the exact order of events but I do remember our conversation. I was sitting alone with my uncle and we were talking as we did often. He then said something that no one else has ever heard him say. “Don’t spend all your young life worried about money. That’s what I did. You need to get out and live your young life while you can.” I’ll never forget it.

Two days after my uncle breaking the news of the holiday he had finally booked for he and his wife, he took a stroke. He never got to take that holiday and he passed away a few months later.

I once heard someone say words to the effect, “What would you like people to say about you at your funeral? Then that is how you should live.”

We’re all going to the same place but we can make the most of the life we have and we can leave behind our own legacy. I repeat to you the words of my late uncle, which have changed my life since he uttered them “Don’t spend all your young life worried about money. That’s what I did. You need to get out and live your young life while you can.”

Well. What are you waiting for?

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