Lifeonaires, I wanted to share this letter with you that a coaching student recently wrote as part of his Vision. He wrote this letter to share with his grandparents after experiencing Lifeonaire. I’d really like to encourage each one of you to write a similar letter to one of your relatives this week. When you think about it, who comes to mind?
Nana & Papa,
We just got into Texas and I’m writing this letter from Aunt Val’s & Uncle Rick’s house. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow! I’ve missed you so much. I miss our nights of playing Domino’s and pool, but I’m happy knowing your move to Texas was for the best.
It all seemed to happen so fast, and I would do anything to go back and spend more time with you. I’ve always heard the saying “Live each day like it’s your last” but I’ve honestly never really taken it to heart. I’ve lived my whole life worried about the future and have rarely taken the time to enjoy the present. I’ve realized that I am really struggling with this. When I think of whose life I would most like my life to be like, I think of you. From as far back as I can remember, until now, there are two things I admire most about you:
1) Your desire to always want to spend time with family at every chance you can get. Most people say this is the most important thing to them, but few people actually live it.
2) You had the vision to live your life so that work or “other things” would not interfere with family. Most people use the excuse that they wish they had more time with family, but they are “too busy” with work and other things. Sadly I am one of those people…and I want to change before my life passes me by.
I’ve never talked to you much about what your life was like before I was born. I’ve mainly heard stories from others. Did you ever have similar struggles of worrying so much about the future that it took time away from enjoying the present?
I literally have only known two people my entire life who think similarly about money. They are you two and my friend Mo, whom I don’t think you have met. I quickly learned at a young age that probably 99% of people do not think like me about money. The reason I am the way I am about money is because of my experiences as a child with Mom and Dad fighting about child support. This affected me deeply. I told myself as a child that I would never be without money because I never wanted to experience those feelings ever again. After college my goal was to obtain the most inexpensive but reasonable home and car both free and clear, and to be debt free before I was 30 years old. Everyone told me I was out of my mind and that was impossible. I accomplished this goal at 26 years old. My next goal was to obtain enough free and clear income producing assets to cover my essential needs while remaining debt free so that if I lost my job then everything would still be okay. I accomplished this at 28 years old.
It’s amazing what you can accomplish out of fear… After each accomplishment the fear lessened, but I could never figure out why I still felt empty. Yes, I feel proud of my accomplishments, but they do not make me feel happy. Within the past month, it finally hit me like a ton of bricks why my accomplishments never made me happy:
How can I expect to find happiness in accomplishments that are driven based on fear instead of joy?
It was so easy for me to tell you what my goals were with money. But sadly, I have no idea what my goals are for my life.
When my last day does come, I will not look back on my life and find any happiness in memories of making money. I will find it in memories of relationships and time spent with my family and friends. I have so many wonderful memories with you as far back as I can remember. These are the things in my life that bring me the most joy.
Do you remember the prayer you used to say to us when you tucked us into bed when we were little? “Now I lay me down to sleep, to pray the Lord our soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. God bless Mom, God bless Dad, God bless…” I have so many memories of watching cartoons in the basement of your Flagstone house, fishing with Papa when I was little with him always telling me “You’re my little buddy,” riding the “saucer” behind your boat, Papa teaching me how to play golf, Papa beating me in golf with only a putter, car rides to your house with you both singing “Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream,” swimming in the Callaway lake, riding in the trailer behind the riding lawnmower, walking the creek looking for geodes, making “that face” when Nana had her hair in curlers, our vacations to Florida & Tivoli, Papa doing a front flip off the diving board, playing games on road trips, roller skating in the basement of the house on Berry, playing pool and ping pong, family get-togethers, always calling me to tell me you love me, always wanting to spend time with me, always believing in me, always being there at graduations, birthday parties, etc…. These are the memories that bring me the most joy. These are the memories that I will cherish forever.
This paragraph is for you, Papa. What were your Mom and Dad like? I’ve never talked to you much about this before. I’ve mainly heard stories from others. I remember Great Grandma a little bit, but I was too young to remember Chucklebee (a.k.a. Great Grandpa). I heard Chucklebee was easy-going, funny, owned a gas station, loved his family, and that everyone in Salem loved and highly respected him. I also heard that times were tough when you were a child and you grew up poor in a home with a dirt floor. However, when I think of my life, I would much rather live it the way Chucklebee did instead of the way I am living it now. There’s a saying…“Every man dies, but not every man really lives.” He may not have had a lot of money, but it seems like his life was more abundant than most men, with or without money.
I believe money cannot buy happiness and that happiness does not require money. Anyone who wants to live debt free and live off of free and clear income producing assets can do so in a short time. Those who disagree are probably those who live on credit and buy houses and cars based on what lenders will approve for them. I am not judging anyone. I believe happiness is what matters most, but I question if their debt is the very thing that is hindering their happiness.
More money only enhances a person’s existing relationship with money. Most people have a difficult time comprehending this. If a person has chosen to finance now, then with more money they will finance more. If a person mismanages the money they have now, then they will mismanage more money. Pro ball players who choose to finance large homes and lottery winners who go bankrupt shortly after winning millions are examples of this.
My point, Papa, is that you would have achieved your lifestyle with or without obtaining the inheritance you received. Maybe it wouldn’t have been as quickly, but it certainly wouldn’t have taken that much longer. What I respect most about you is that you did not allow your relationship with money to interfere with spending time with your family and enjoying your life in the present. Did you ever struggle with your relationship between money and spending time with family/enjoying life in the present? This is what I am struggling with now in my life. How did you overcome this? What are the things in life that bring you the most joy? What are your life goals?
This paragraph is for Nana. What were your Mom & Dad like? I never talked to you much about this before. I’ve mainly heard stories from others. I think I heard your Mom was a school teacher and I heard that your Dad was very wealthy and had several rental properties, owned a grocery store and had maids for your house. What was your childhood like? What are the things in life that bring you the most joy? What I have always admired most about you is how you enjoy life and always want to spend time with family every chance you get. I don’t think I have ever seen you in a bad mood. You always have a smile on your face that lifts the spirits of everyone around you. You always said to me, “I love all of my grandchildren equally with all my heart, but there’s something special about your first grandchild and you will always have a special place in my heart.” I can’t explain it, but I can feel it, Nana. Do you know that feeling when a loved one looks at you and you can feel the love in their eyes? When you look at me, I can feel the love in your eyes stronger than from anyone else. You will also always have a special place in my heart.
I love you both dearly and admire your lives more than anyone I have ever known. I can’t wait for our time together over the next couple of days & look forward to many more times to come.
Your GrandsonTags: featured