A friend’s father battled cancer for several years. He had surgery and underwent radiation treatment and, for three years, things looked promising.
Eventually, his health changed for the worse and he was given a choice: Either face the inevitable within four months or get a “hormone treatment” to extend his life for a year or two. He opted for treatment, but really didn’t have a plan for what he would do with that extra time.
However, this time, the treatment came with a tremendous financial cost. Because of his age, his insurance co-pay amounted to $10,000 per month – or $333.33 a day. If he discontinued treatment, he would die within weeks.
He faced a dilemma. Whatever he opted to do that day, would cost him $333.33 – even if he chose to do nothing at all.
Imagine if we all approached our finite time on earth with that same mindset. Rather than take every breath for granted, what if we had to pay cold, hard cash just to live another day? Would we really:
- Spend hours on social media comparing ourselves to others and sharing opinions about whatever the “issue of the day” may be?
- Invest any time doomscrolling through endless negative news stories intentionally crafted to make us anxious or angry enough that we had to tune in later for updates?
- Binge watch a decades-old television series or one YouTube video after another?
- Check our bank accounts and investments to ensure we had even more money we can’t possibly take with us?
- Go garage sale hopping looking for more useless trinkets to store in the garage, basement, shed and closets?
- View hours of pornography, seek another drink or embrace some other addictive behavior that offers little genuine reward?
- Spend time isolated and alone?
- Sleep the day away?
There is nothing wrong with rest, especially when we are battling a major health challenge. Even under the best of circumstances, the Bible commands us to take one day of rest per week.
However; because we often take all our days and time on earth for granted – along with good health, mobility and relationships – we don’t value our time the same as we would if we had to pay in advance for each minute we enjoyed.
Imagine standing at a checkout lane with our schedules in hand. Want a full day of rest? That will be $333.33. Want to zone out and watch Seinfeld episodes for eight hours? That will be $111.11. Need a two-hour lunch to talk about politics or the state of the world with a friend? That will be $27.78 for your time, in addition to the cost of your meal. A four-hour nap would cost $55.56.
Here’s the problem. The cost would be the same to be productive and make a difference in our community or in the lives of others as it would to spend the same time in isolation. From a mental health perspective, which one offers a better return on the investment? Which one works to truly renew your spirit and create a legacy that will survive your time on earth?
Let your purpose dictate what the best use of your time would be.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.