If you have read the book “Who moved my cheese” you will know that very often we get a tad too comfortable with status quo, unless a disruptive event happens to change things altogether. 2020 has been a year of the pandemic and there have been several lessons that we have learnt from this massive and painful disruption. In my opinion the most important one is that of the transience of life – not that we did not know of the fact that we all will die one day, but we had probably all managed to keep it away from our conscious being. The pandemic has ensured that death has been brought bang on centre stage, in a way that it cannot be ignored any more.
One of my favorite Bengali poets, Michael Madhusudan Dutt had written about death in the following manner :-
Any birth dictates a corresponding death,No person is ever immortal In the flowing river of life, it is impossible not to flow towards death.
Shakespeare does it in his inimitable fashion too through his protagonist Julius Caesar in this famous manner :-
Cowards die many times before their death; The valiant never taste of death but once. Of all the wonders that I yet have heard, it seems most strange to me that men should fear ; Seeing that death, a necessary end, Will come when it will come.
Why am I writing this in a financial blog? Firstly, because I do not see this as a financial blog but more as a blog about life, finances being an important part of it. Secondly, because I write my own reflections on this blog and, over the past few months, I have had some time to reflect on life as well as death both in a general as well as a personal context. We all know about death but unless we are really old or really ill, we do not expect to die. This pandemic has changed that notion completely, many people have died when they did not expect to die at all. It has brought home the painful realization that as mere mortals, who can influence but never control their longevity of life, we must focus on the present and not worry too much about a long term future, that may not be there in the first place.
What does all this mean for your life and finances? Firstly, you need to plan for your future BUT you also need to live in the present. I know of quite a few people who have died this year and before, who invested and saved for a good retired life in their 70’s but sadly never got to see it. Secondly, if you have anything to contribute to society at large, get it started now. Do not wait to finish your career or for some elusive down time when you will find some time to help others. Thirdly, if you have any passion or hobby that you want to indulge in but have never really had time for then rethink your situation. For example, if you like reading and have always wanted to read the complete works of any author, do you really want to go away from this world without having done so? Build these into your work life, the balance has never been more important than it is today. Fourthly, investments are important for your financial goals and future life BUT do not forget the purpose of money is to live your life as well as you possibly can.
If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will see that I have been advocating much of these over the past few years. However, I realized after a lot of contemplation that I can be more active in several of my activities, some just affecting me, others that also affect other people in a positive way. In the last few months, I have made certain changes to my life in this regard and have to make some more. I will share some of these plans in the blog through my next few posts.
In the meantime, I hope I have given all of you enough to think about and, hopefully, also act upon 🙂
An update on my HELP program for those who may be interested – I am doing this currently for 4 people and will be taking it up for 4 more in December when the current programs get over. If you are interested write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will interact.