A successful VC I know recently remarked:
“Growing up, our family was so poor that all I wanted was having a central A/C system one day. Central AC has been my bottom line; everything I got on top of that has been a bonus to me.”
Of course, he’s got a lot more than a central AC unit, and he seems to be living a happy and content life.
That reminded me – I almost died when I was 7 or 8 by accident. I’ll save the details, but my life could very much have ended right there and then, if my mom wasn’t around three steps away. So, whatever life I’ve had since then has been a bonus.
More recently, my daughter’s best friend lost her father last year. He came to the elementary school graduation and we took pictures together. He had a terminal cancer and seemed very happy just to be able to make it to his daughter’s graduation. A few months later, he was no longer with us. That feeling – someone you took pictures with very recently was now gone – was very strange.
I think about him and I’m so grateful that I am still alive, surrounded by the loved ones, living a normal life. I didn’t do anything particularly better than him that makes me deserve more life – I’m just lucky.
Thinking this way, I shouldn’t be upset about anything – I could have died a long time ago and everything has been a bonus to me. (Of course, if only I could remember this all the time.. I’ll surely forget about this the next time a car cuts into mine.)
One way to live a happy life is lower your expectations. Think about the ones that passed before you. Your time now could very well be just a bonus.